El Al Israel Airlines has announced the dates of three direct flights from Tel Aviv to Melbourne, the longest scheduled flights in Israeli aviation history.
The three flights, which are subject to regulatory approval, are an effort by Israel's flagship carrier to test demand for regular service on the route, a decision that will be made in the coming months. Two of the flights will operate in April, before and after Passover. The third flight is scheduled for May.
The flights from Israel, on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, are scheduled to take 16 hours and 15 minutes, while the return flights from Australia to Israel are due to take 17 hours and 45 minutes.
El Al's purchase of Dreamliner aircraft has made it possible for the Israeli carrier to look at expanding its network and link Israel to additional Diaspora communities, the airline's vice president for marketing, Miki Strassberger, said.
The first Melbourne-bound flight is due to take off from Tel Aviv on April 2. The aircraft will return on April 4, to be followed by another flight on April 23, returning on April 25. The third flight will leave Tel Aviv on May 14. The Melbourne-Tel Aviv leg is scheduled for May 16.
The El Al flights are scheduled to depart Ben-Gurion International Airport on Thursdays at 11:15 A.M. or 12:15 P.M. and to arrive in Melbourne at 11:30 A.M. the following day. The flights from Melbourne depart on Saturday evening at 11:15 P.M. and are scheduled to arrive in Israel at 9:00 A.M. or 10:00 A.M.
Tickets sales have begun. TheMarker has found economy class roundtrip tickets currently available for about $1,200. The airline is also offering premium economy and business class on the flights. El Al is also permitting passengers to fly the non-stop route in one direction and to combine it with flights to Bangkok or Hong Kong in the other direction.