Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to fly on the "Wing of Zion" plane, known colloquially as Israel's Air Force One, for the first time in November, according to Israeli media.
The personnel who will staff the aircraft joined Netanyahu on his trip to Cyprus in order to learn how a prime ministerial flight is conducted. The flight in November will take the prime minister to the United Nations Climate Change conference in the United Arab Emirates.
Plane has sat out of use for nearly two years
The aircraft, which cost the state NIS 588 million to build, sat out of use since it was declared ready to fly in December 2021. The project to purchase and outfit the aircraft took over ten years.
A State Comptroller Report from last year found that the cost of an average flight on the Wing of Zion aircraft will cost taxpayers about NIS 5.2 million, about twice as much as the prime minister's trips on Israeli airlines currently cost.
The comptroller noted, however, that the Wing of Zion is a "clear improvement over the previous situation" in terms of security, communications, controls, conditions inside the place, and availability.
A series of ground and air tests were conducted on the aircraft in January, with the plane flying from the Nevatim airbase to Ben-Gurion Airport and back.