Israeli airline El Al retires its last Boeing 747 in style

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Israeli airline El Al gave a spectacular send off to its fleet of Boeing 747s by diverting the last scheduled flight of the model to trace the plane’s outline in the sky.

On the last 747 flight by the Israeli national carrier, flight LY1747 diverted over the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday to trace an outline of the 747 on its way from Rome to Tel Aviv.

New York Times reports “It’s not often that an airline draws attention to a late flight, as was the case on Sunday when an El Al jumbo jet from Rome to Tel Aviv landed 95 minutes after it had been scheduled to arrive. The flight, 1747, had taken a circuitous route over the Mediterranean Sea, not because of weather, air traffic or geopolitical reasons.”

Business Insider reports that according to Flightradar’s map of the flight, the jet flew for around two hours before starting its artwork in the east Mediterranean, west of Cyprus. Flightradar’s tracking data showed that the plane descended around 10,000 feet from cruising altitude to create the image. The outline appears to be around 100 miles long.

Dubbed the “Queen of the Skies,” the 747-400 model was in use for nearly five decades by Israel’s national airline, notably in its airlifting of Ethiopian Jews to Israel during Operation Solomon.

The Times of Israel reports that in May 1991, during the operation, the aircraft shattered the still-unmatched world record for most passengers to be transported on a single plane, when some 1,088 were crammed on board a 747 from Addis Ababa to Tel Aviv.

El Al announced earlier this year it would phase out the 747 in favor of the more fuel-efficient Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, after 48 years of service.

Via New York Times / Business Insider / Times of Israel 

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