El Al Turns 65
El Al Israel Airlines celebrated its 65th anniversary on Friday. The airline was founded on November 15, 1948 and it is the largest airline in Israel as well as the nation’s flag carrier.
The airline flew its first, somewhat improvised flight, two months prior to its founding when the Israeli government needed to fly the country’s president, Chaim Weizmann, back from Switzerland in a civilian aircraft. The plane, which was borrowed from the Israeli Air Force, was repainted with a livery bearing the name El Al/Israel National Aviation Company. El Al (Hebrew: אל על) means “to the skies” and comes from the book of the prophet Hosea in the bible. (The borrowed airplane was returned to the air force shortly after Weizmann’s return to Israel.)
El Al currently serves 45 destinations in Europe, North America, Africa, the Near East, and the Far East from its hub at Ben Gurion International Airport. It operates the most nonstop flights from the New York area to Israel as well as the only nonstop flights to Israel from Los Angeles.
The airline’s current fleet is composed of Boeing 737,747, 767, and 777 aircraft. It has several Boeing 787 Dreamliners on order as well.