On Sunday, engineering trucks began to scrap El Al’s last 747 Jumbo aircraft. The large aircraft, which enthusiasts called “The Queen of the Skies” signifies the ending of an era in aviation for the Israeli airline.
The aircraft joined El Al’s fleet in 1994 and was in service until 2019. The plane was scrapped as part of the company’s decision to switch to smaller and cheaper aircraft. This was the first 747-400 that entered into service with the Israeli airline and is now the last.
747’s have been in use by El Al as early as 1971 when the national airline purchased and flew a 747-200. That same year, some 700,000 people flew with El Al, an increase of 40 percent from the previous year. Some 20 planes of the 747 models, the 100, 200, and 400 series have been in service by El Al over the years.
The 747 fleet have been involved in some of the country’s historical cornerstones including flying residents and tourists in and out of Israel during the Yom Kippur war, brining over Soviet Jews from the former USSR to Israel in the 70s. In 1991, one of the planes broke a record when Captain Aryeh Oz departed Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, with 1,086 passengers during operation Solomon to bring the Ethiopian Jews home to Israel. That same plane recorded a new record with 1,088 passengers when it landed in Israel after two children were born on-board.
Over the years, 11 747-400 planes were used by El AL, until the last one was taken out of service at the end of 2019.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)