Update, 3/15/23: El Al and the Australian Government have come to an agreement that will bring nonstop flights between Tel Aviv and Melbourne by June 2024! The service is made financially viable thanks to Oman and Saudi Arabia opening their airspace to Israeli airlines.
El Al stands to receive route launch incentives from both Australia and Israel for the new flight, which is expected to operate 3 times per week by a 787-9 Dreamliner.
The flight time should be several hours less than the 16-17.5 hours it took during the one flight that El Al previously flew to Melbourne, as a COVID rescue flight on the 787-9:
The new great circle routing should look like this:
Update, 3/31/20: While these flights have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus, El Al is operating a nonstop rescue flight between Tel Aviv and Melbourne.
Update, 12/10/19: You can now purchase these tickets! Tickets purchased from Priceline today are refundable until at 11:29pm ET tomorrow.
El Al will fly from Tel Aviv to Melbourne on April 2, 23, and May 14. El Al will fly from Melbourne to Tel Aviv on April 4, 25, and May 16.
Will you fly on the inaugural commercial flight between Israel and Australia?
Originally posted on 11/27/19:
Globes is reporting that El Al will test 2 trial flights nonstop from Tel Aviv to Melbourne in the 2nd quarter of 2020 and that seats will be for sale to the public. The 787-9 operated test flights will be about 10 days apart. No commercial airline has ever flown between Israel and Australia.
The flight to Australia will clock in at 16:45 while the return will take a whopping 17:45. El Al’s longest flight currently is Tel Aviv to Los Angeles at 15:15.
El Al says the test flights are necessary to see if people will pay a premium for the nonstop and to see if people will tolerate the flight length.
El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin told Globes that, “We will only be able to see whether the trial will lead to us opening the route on the basis of performance. We’re talking about a very long flight, and we’ll have to examine various aspects of it, including fuel consumption, and the behavior and physical health of passengers and crew.”
Quite frankly, I don’t really understand what the point of these test flights are.
It seems similar to the gimmicky test flights from London and JFK to Sydney that got Qantas a ton of media attention. I posted my thoughts on that in the first Sunday roundup post.
Surely El Al knows how much fuel will be burned via computer modeling.
And while Qantas made a big deal about passenger and crew health as their flight was 19.5 hours long (An hour longer than existing Newark-Singapore service), I’m not sure what exactly El Al is testing with a flight under 18 hours? Surely they can check with airlines that already run flights of that length, such as Dallas to Sydney?
Demand for a nonstop is always a question and computer modeling can only predict that up to a point. But I’m not sure how 2 flights (I’m assuming they mean 2 round-trips?) will provide enough data to know if a flight 3 days a week will be a success.
When United wanted to test demand to a new destination, like Papeete, they launched it as seasonal only, 3 flights per week service. When that was a success the flight went year-round. That provides enough data to know if the flight will be a success. United is using the same tactic to determine if flights from Newark to Cape Town are viable. It’s hard to get enough data to predict the success of a flight from 2 test flights.
My assumption is that like Qantas’ test flights, this is a PR move to generate buzz for new service, with the cover story of testing how passengers feel during the flight.
And I hope it goes well, because connecting Israel with Australia is pretty cool!
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28 Comments On "[Update: Route Launch In June 2024!] El Al To Trial Nonstop Test Flights Between Tel Aviv And Melbourne!"
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Dan, El Al is testing whether people will tolerate a flight of over 16 hrs squished tighter than sardines and actually breathe during the flight!!!!
@Berry, I think you are the right track but not quite there.
Sitting in squishy seats for this length is also something that other airlines do, so this can be asked to passengers who have already done this.
I think what they will be testing is – will passengers survive almost 18 hours of ElAl attitude? And that is something that they needonly 1 flight, (as there will be only 1 of the 2 test flights that will be that long) to know.
you can now buy data and see how many people are searching for direct flights and predict accordingly, this is a copy from Qantas with free PR
Monkey see, monkey do, except that their monkey do is embarrassing:
Qantas: “We’re going to monitor the health of runners as they attempt to break a three-minute mile. We’ll report back on their success, and let you know if we’ll be able to market the special shoes they wear.”
El Al: “Yeah, us, too. We’re going to monitor the health of our runners, too. They’ll be running a 13-minute mile with Reebok’s From Marshall’s. It’ll be absolutely fascinating to watch the way their bodies react under these sorts of conditions, and we’ll absolutely let you all know how it goes.”
So classic of El AL.
The airline, itself a mess, whose Q3 net profit was down 36% YOY despite an 18% increase in passengers, is only outdone in the “which is a bigger dumpster fire” rankings by its own a loyalty program.
–someone who wants El Al to succeed
How many shares do you own?
To fly 18 hours shouldn’t be a problem but to fly with ELAL for 18 hours that’s a problem
That’s one long Shmoneh Esrei!
As for me, i enjoy the stopover, even just from the East Coast to Israel. It gives time to
a) walk around
b) daven like a mentch
c) eat on something bigger than a small tray
d) use a normal bathroom
I try to have a small 2-3 hour stopover, but 4 is ok as well, especially if i need to daven Shachris. The money saved is just a bonus.
As for buissnessmen, i can understand the non-stop need on a small flight, but here it’s so long, the 3 hours saved is not such a big deal in normal circumstances.
If flying in business class, you wouldn’t want a stop-over to cut sleeping time. When flying a red-eye US to Israel, there’s time for close to a full night of sleep (10-11 hours of flight time, minus take-off, landing, meal service= 6-7 hours of quiet). A flight to Europe is often only 7-8 hours, which really only gives you a 4 hour window to actually sleep.
This is one of the few markets where LY May have to rely on transfer passengers from Europe, or sell stopover tickets in TLV as part of the flights. Doubtful these flights would make it on O&D alone.
No one from Europe is going to stop in TLV instead of the gulf, where there are many more flights to every part of Australia leaving every day, (and they take the quickest route instead of going around Arab countries) instead of TLV, where if the flight is cancelled they are really out of luck. However, anyone traveling from Eastern Australia to Israel will go to Melbourne, as the only good Asian stopover is New Delhi, due to Saudi overflight.
What is currently the longest economy minus flight?
unfortunately just as I move to america,
Netanyahu did it himself
@Dan, are you planning on going on this flight?
something about “test run” and “airplane” doesnt sit well with me…
It’s not a test run on a new aircraft, by an airplane manufacturer. It’s a test run on a “route”, by an airline.
for elal, any “Test run” is suspect.
Curious if there’s was any thought put into this comment.
I mean, El Al is probably from the world’s “least safe” airlines, no?
Is it weird that you can’t really fly El Al on a return flight? If you fly to TLV > MEL, you can only return via El Al either two days later (which no one will do) or three weeks later. They took away the ‘going on vacation for a week’ customers.
Return with a stop?
El Al has codeshare flights via HKG and BKK
Most likely need to operate the flight for AU certification purposes. It’ll be more expensive to operate it this way than to just charter it with less staff, but good for PR and to hand seats away to some VIP folks.
@Shmoogrr – you have it “I think what they will be testing is – will passengers survive almost 18 hours of El Al attitude?” I find it difficult surviving a few hours! I flew with LY to London recently in Business. When I asked for some more water, I was asked if I wanted the small bottle given out at the beginning of the flight, without a straw or glass, to be refilled. Real El Al class! Compare that to the flight I took a few months ago from Tel Aviv to London on Turkish via Istanbul, also in Business. Yes, there was a short layover in Istanbul but the timing was great and the service excellent. The kosher food was far superior and the plane was actually clean and fresh. I never fly El Al to New York direct from Tel Aviv, Swiss, Alitalia or BA are so much better. I am looking forward to going with Virgin Atlantic next month. I wouldn’t in a “million years” dream of giving up on Cathay to get to Australia!
they canceled YYZ – TLV to test this?
Exactly. Pure stupidity to leave Canada
Why on earth is this going to take another 15 months? I thought it would be THIS June!
Tough luck!!! to be a Jewish airline.as you wont be given a chance to be average.
As one who has flown monthly TLV-LHR-NYC-TLV on multiple airlines,
I certainly don’t see them as below average. Talking about attitude? when I fly with children I always prefer EL AL where the staff usually give me an extra seat for my infant.
so all of you can try have realistic expectations from an airline regardless of race and religion.
one last word for “HARRY” from the water bottle remember the old slogan?
“הכי בבית בעולם” they just wanted to make you feel home !!!!!
I must agree. I just flew El Al transatlantic for the first time since making aliyah (1977!). They were great in every respect.