Israeli airline El Al will test the waters with three non-stop flights from Melbourne to Tel Aviv during April and May 2020. Tickets are now on sale for the trial flights, and you can even earn Qantas points.
If the trial proves that the flights are commercially feasible, the airline could add year-round service direct to Israel from Melbourne.
The El Al flights to Tel Aviv will depart Melbourne on 4 April, 25 April and 16 May 2020. In the other direction, the trial flights will depart from Tel Aviv on 2 April, 23 April and 14 May next year.
El Al flight LY88 will depart Melbourne at 11.15pm, arriving in Tel Aviv at 9am the following morning. The flight time is estimated at a marathon 17 hours and 45 minutes. In the other direction, LY87 will leave Tel Aviv at 12.15pm and arrive in Melbourne at 11.30am the next day; 16 hours and 15 minutes later.
For each of the trial flights, the aircraft will sit on the ground in Melbourne for more than a day before returning to Israel. Presumably, this is because the same flight crew will operate the return leg and they will need sufficient rest time between flights.
Covering a distance of 13,736km, Melbourne-Tel Aviv will be one of the longer air routes in the world – but not the longest. Qantas’ London to Perth flight covers 14,499km and the world’s longest flight, Singapore-Newark on Singapore Airlines, is 15,344km in length.
The flights will be operated by Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners with Business class, Premium Economy and Economy seating available. Fares start at around $1,914 for an Economy ticket, which is reasonably competitive compared to other one-stop flights between Australia and Israel – many of which have much longer travel times. Tickets are available on the El Al website.
Currently, the fastest route from Melbourne to Tel Aviv is via Hong Kong, with a journey time of around 23 hours in both directions.
Although you can normally redeem Qantas points for El Al flights, there is no award availability on these three trial flights. There are also no Qantas codeshares on these trial flights, so you cannot book on a “QF” flight number or earn status credits. However, you could earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points. If you’re booked in a fare class that’s eligible to earn points (see the table below), you would earn in each direction:
- 3,750 Qantas points for an Economy ticket (except “Y” class, which earns 7,500 points)
- 8,250 Qantas points for a Premium Economy ticket
- 9,400 Qantas points for a Business ticket
These El Al fare classes earn Qantas points:
Asiana and China Eastern are also trialling new routes to Australia over the coming summer.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: El Al announces direct flights between Tel Aviv and Melbourne