British Airways Celebrates 80 Years of Tel Aviv Travel
British Airways is celebrating 80 consecutive years of flights from London to Tel Aviv. The London-Israel route was originally established in 1932 by Imperial Airways, a British company that operated from 1924 to 1939, mostly to British empire colonies. In 1939, Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd. merged into a single British national airline, the predecessor to today’s British Airways.
The original flights to Israel were flown on a Scipio S17 plane that landed directly on the Sea of Galilee. Once the plane landed, passengers were transferred to land via small boats. To reach their final destination, passengers also had to endure train rides and several overnight stays. The entire journey, which can now be completed in under five hours, took five days.
Today, British Airways operates two flights daily from Tel Aviv to London on Boeing 767 and 777 planes. According to Yael Katan, the airline’s commercial manager in Israel, out of 33 million passengers worldwide, more than 250,000 passengers flew the Tel Aviv-London route last year.