El Al’s social media pages on Wednesday showed off the airline’s newest special livery, a retro-themed livery taking passengers back to the 1960s. The airline, founded in September 1948 and as old as the State of Israel itself, is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and the special livery is a reminder of El Al’s past as it quickly moves into the future with the modern marvel that is the Dreamliner.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the rising star and new face of El Al’s long-haul route network, is the all-Boeing airline’s newest aircraft and was chosen for the throwback livery, which was first featured on El Al’s Boeing 707 aircraft. This is the airline’s first special livery of the type, having switched from its former livery to its current livery in 1999 with the arrival of the Boeing 747-400s, which the airline is currently phasing out in favor of the fuel-efficient Dreamliners.
The freshly-painted blue and white aircraft, registration 4X-EDF, is still awaiting delivery from Boeing in Everett, Wash., with an expected delivery sometime in August. Keeping in El Al tradition, the aircraft will be named after an Israeli city. The city of Rehovot, located just south of El Al’s hub at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, was chosen for this aircraft.
The 282-seat aircraft are configured with 3-classes of service: business, premium economy and economy. The airline ordered close to 20 of the aircraft, split between the Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 variants. Deliveries for the smaller 787-8 variant will begin in 2019, once El Al receives its remaining 787-9 aircraft.
El Al has been heavily promoting the aircraft on social media and through various sweepstakes. Its previous sweepstakes called “The Contest of Your Dream(Liner)” was centered around the aircraft and showed off the aircraft in its promotional material. The winner was given 2 roundtrip tickets to Israel from North America and a 5-night stay at a hotel in Jerusalem.
The aircraft will replace the aging 747s on some routes, including Tel Aviv-New York and Newark, while opening up new routes entirely including Tel Aviv to San Francisco in 2019. Although the airline hasn’t announced a final date for its iconic Boeing 747 aircraft, affectionately known as the Queen of the Skies, many predict that the end will come in 2019 once El Al solidifies its Dreamliner fleet.
El Al isn’t the only airline getting creative with its Dreamliners, as other airlines such as Qantas and Aeromexico have been giving their 787s special liveries as well. El Al, however, joins the exclusive club of painting a retro livery on its Dreamliner, a club in which it is the only member as no other airline has done so yet. Other notable retro liveries include Lufthansa’s retro Boeing 747-8i and American Airlines’ multiple retro Boeing 737-800s.
The Israeli national airline took delivery of its first Dreamliner just under a year ago in August 2017. Since then, the aircraft has been flying key routes for the airline from Tel Aviv to cities such as New York, Newark and London, representing Israel and flying the flag of the Jewish state everywhere it goes.