El Al’s first Dreamliner plane, a Boeing 787-9, landed on Wednesday morning at Ben Gurion Airport, after a 14-hour flight from Boeing’s factory in Washington State on the West Coast of the United States.
A ceremony was held to celebrate the plane’s arrival, attended by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman and hundreds of workers from El Al and the Transportation Ministry.
The plane is the first of 16 new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners purchased by El Al for a total of over $1.25 billion.
The Dreamliner’s first passenger flights will be to London in September. In October, it will gradually begin flying long-haul to North America and the Far East. Routes to cities in North America and Hong Kong are to be added before the end of 2017.
The planes have 282 seats divided into three passenger classes, and no first class. The upgraded business class has 32 seats that open up into full beds.
The premium economy class has 28 seats in four rows of seven each: each row has three seats in the middle of the plane, and two seats each on the far sides of the isles. The tourist class has 222 seats that are arranged nine seats to a row: each row has three seats in the middle and three seats on the far sides of the isles.
Besides passenger comfort, the new aircraft will save the airlines money. It promises a 47 percent saving on fuel consumption over the currently employed Boeing 747s on the direct Tel Aviv-New York route. It also touts cheaper maintenance – fewer overhauls are required – and the Dreamliners can fly more often.
The plane, which can fly over 9,000 miles, is the most recent passenger aircraft produced by Boeing.