El Al, the flag carrier of Israel, has had its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner painted in its livery, and was seen leaving Portland, Oregon after being painted a few weeks ago. The aircraft is the first of 16 on order and will become El Al’s new flagship upon its delivery. However, there’s more to the aircraft than meets the eye, with a completely new cabin product being unveiled onboard, and the possibilities of expansion endless.
El Al’s fleet currently has an old, subpar business class product aboard its long-haul fleet of Boeing 747, 767 and 777 aircraft, however, aboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the airline is looking to gain back lost customers from over the years. The airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners will feature 32 lie-flat seats in Business, in a 1-2-1 configuration, which looks amazing in renderings provided by the airline, and even better considering the airline’s current cramped and dated angle-flat seats in Business Class.
In Business, seats will be 21 inches wide and will recline into a 78 inch-long bed. The staggered configuration seems similar to products operated by Swiss, Austrian and Brussels Airlines, however much more private. The seats will take up space in the front part of the cabin, between the first and second set of doors.
The airline’s new Premium Economy is a great step above the airline’s current Premium Economy marketed product, which is just a few extra inches of legroom in its regular Economy cabin. The Premium Economy cabin is in a 2-3-2 configuration, which each seat being 19 inches wide and having 38 inches of pitch.
Even the airline’s Economy cabin is getting a refresh, with larger IFE screens and a new seat design. However, seats may be smaller than those on its older aircraft, being only 17 inches wide and having 31 inches of pitch, compared to the products aboard its Boeing 747s, 767s and 777s whose Economy seats are 18 inches wide and have between 32 and 34 inches of pitch.
The planes are scheduled to go into service this fall, with El Al first putting them into service on the Tel Aviv – London Heathrow route, before putting them onto their route to Newark — operating one of up to four daily flights to the New York City area. The airline’s business class product has the potential of being the best offered between the US and Israel, however, it will have to compete with United’s new Polaris product and Delta’s new Delta One Suites, which are to be unveiled later this year. No news has
El Al’s Boeing 787s will replace the Boeing 747s and 767s in its fleet. The Boeing 747s are scheduled to be retired in early 2019, while the Boeing 767s will be retired “by 2020”. However, with four more Dreamliners to be delivered than the number of aircraft being retired, it is possible that the airline will use these orders to embark on an expansion plan, which has been rumored for months. The airline will resume service to Miami in November and has reportedly been discussing other potential destinations including Washington D.C. and Chicago.
Featured image by Chris Edwards via @AeroimagesChris.