El Al Israel Airlines has outlined plans to operate three trial flights from Tel Aviv to Melbourne, Australia to test ultra-long-haul flying operations.
According to Flight Global, El Al is to operate the three flights during April and May 2020 under flight number LY87. The airline’s reservation system shows that the first flight is scheduled to takeoff on the 2nd of April.
The next two flights are scheduled to fly under the same flight number on the 23rd of April and on the 14th of May. Each return flight will take place on the 4th of April, 25th of April and the 16th of May.
Tickets on sale show return flights start at AUD$872, with fares increasing as higher classes and specialised requests are chosen.
Performing the 16h 15min test flights is the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which is what Qantas has been using for its Project Sunrise testing. Due to weather and routing, the return flight time from Melbourne to Tel Aviv is expected to be 17 hours and 45 minutes.
On board El Als Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners are 282 seats, with the scheme of the cabin developed by London-based design firm PriestmanGoode.
Business class consists of 32 seats in a staggered 1-2-1 layout, meaning all passengers get direct aisle access. Each seat is 21″ wide and can be transformed into a 78″ long full flat bed.
Additionally, passengers can stow their personal items away in the ample amount of container and shelf space present around their seat.
For entertainment, El Al has opted for 16″ high-definition displays with a thorough selection of movies and TV.
The Dreamliner is the first aircraft that El Al has installed Premium Economy; 28 seats have been installed in a 2-3-2 layout, each with a 38″ pitch. The seats are 19.4″ wide and are paired with 13″ high-definition entertainment displays.
Economy is fairly standard, with 222 seats that vary between 30″ and 31″ pitch. All seats are 17″ wide and feature 12″ entertainment displays.
Luckily for passengers USB and AC charging outlets are available in all classes, if the use of personal devices is preferred.
El Al has usually served Melbourne by flying to Hong Kong or Bangkok and then connecting passengers, using services from Qantas, Cathay Pacific or Thai Airways.
Following the completion of the three test flights, El Al will assess the performance and possibly make a decision on a regular non-stop service between the two cities.
Melbourne is home to Australia’s largest Jewish population, so the potential for a new, direct, service between the cities could mean great news for people wanting to visit easily.
In addition to the Melbourne trial flights El Al has announced the launch of new routes to Chicago, Dublin, Tokyo and Dusseldorf, set to commence in 2020. Also, 2019 saw the launch of non-stop flights to Nice, San Francisco, Manchester and Las Vegas.
What are your thoughts on these flights?
Sam Chui recently flew on El Al’s Boeing 747-400 retirement flight and ended up drawing a 747 in the sky! Check out the video and blog post here: