Arkia signed a contract with Boeing yesterday, for purchase of two 787-9 airplanes for an estimated $366 million. Arkia will be the first Israeli airline to acquire the new model.

The deal includes an option to buy two identical planes. While the model will be operational in 2008, the two planes are scheduled for delivery only in 2012.

According to the manufacturers, the plane uses 20 percent less fuel, while increasing cargo and passenger revenue by 45 percent.

The company plans to operate the new Boeing planes on routes to North America and the Far East, although it has no flight authorization to fly to these destinations yet.

The planes' long range will enable airlines, including Arkia, to offer passengers 'point to point' service, eliminating the need for stopovers.