El Al Will Trial 17 Hour Non-Stop Tel Aviv – Melbourne Flights

El Al has announced its intentions to enter the world of super long haul flights. Utilising the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the airline is planning to test 16-hour 45-minute non-stop flights to Melbourne from Tel Aviv.

El Al, Tel Aviv, Melbourne
El Al is set to trial non-stop flights from Tel Aviv to Melbourne. Photo: Boeing

There has been a fair bit of news within the ultra-long-haul flight sphere within the past year or so. Just over a year ago, in October 2018, Singapore Airlines launched the world’s longest regular passenger flight between Singapore and Newark.

More recently, this year we have seen a huge emphasis on Qantas’ Project Sunrise ambitions to connect Sydney with London non-stop. However, now El Al is keen to get a piece of the pie.

El Al, Tel Aviv, Melbourne
El Al’s Boeing 787 business cabin doesn’t seem like a bad place to spend 17 hours! Photo: Priestman Goode

8,500 miles

According to GCMaps.com, the great circle distance between Tel Aviv and Melbourne is 8,535 miles. This is the shortest distance between the two points, however, aircraft often don’t fly in exactly a straight line from A to B. El Al estimates that these flights will take around 16 hours and 45 minutes.


The airline said in a Hebrew language Facebook post:

We are excited to announce: in a few months, el al will begin on experiment flights to Melbourne, which will be held at Boeing 787 🇦🇺


 Following in Qantas’ footsteps

Qantas has been using the Boeing 787 to prove whether ultra-long-haul flights from London and New York to Sydney are feasible. As part of its Project Sunrise trials, it operated the world’s longest non-stop twin-engine passenger flight from London to Syndey earlier this month.

It seems as though El Al has drawn inspiration from Qantas. The Israeli flag carrier is set to use the Boeing 787 to test non-stop flights to the Southern Australian city of Melbourne, according to the Hebrew language news website Ynet. Of course, the trial flights are still subject to approval from the relevant authorities.

El Al, Tel Aviv, Melbourne
The route from Tel Aviv to Melbourne. Photo: Simple Flying

El Al’s Boeing 787s

El Al recently retired its last Boeing 747 aircraft as it introduces a number of Boeing 787 aircraft to its fleet. In fact, within the next couple of days, the carrier is expected to receive its first of the smaller Boeing 787-8. This aircraft will complement its growing fleet of the Boeing 787-9.

El Al, Tel Aviv, Melbourne
El Al’s premium economy cabin features a 2-3-2 layout. Photo: Priestman Goode

According to SeatGuru, El Al’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft have three classes of travel. This consists of 32 flatbed Business First seats in a 1-2-1 layout. There are also 28 Premium Economy seats with a pitch of 38 inches each in a 2-3-2 configuration. Finally, towards the rear of the aircraft, there are 222 standard economy seats in a 3-3-3 configuration. These economy seats have a pitch of 30-31 inches.

Speaking of the aircraft, El Al’s CEO Gonen Ussishkin told Ynet,

“The company absorbed 12 new 787-9 aircraft, and by the end of the first quarter of 2020, the arrival of four additional 787-8 Dreamliner planes would be completed”.

El Al, Tel Aviv, Melbourne
The economy cabin looks slightly cozy for a 17-hour flight. Photo: Priestman Goode

Meanwhile, the airline’s CFO Deganit Feletti added: “The company recorded a decrease in fuel expenses in the reported quarter, as a result of a decline in market prices and a decrease in the amount of fuel consumed by the company’s aircraft, despite the 8% increase in activity, mainly due to operating the Boeing 787-9”

Would you like to ride on one of the test flights between Tel Aviv and Australia? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!


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Jok a Jok

One challange is that they cant fly over Saudi, yemen air space. Equipment has to go down the red sea first.

Ani Tzioni

That doesn’t add that much in mileage. Don’t forget, they are not flying east, but southeast, pretty much in line with great circle routing.


So, while Qantas is still dithering over Project Sunrise, other airlines are putting direct Australian flights into practice. Excellent news. Time for more airlines to follow.


I don’t know that I’d call it dithering. QF already flies PER-LHR which is 17 hours – in line with SQ doing SIN-EWR or what LY plans for TLV-MEL. For QF, Sunrise adds many more complexities – an additional 3 hours flying time that the B787 can’t do and with aircraft types one of which is not even flying yet (B777x) and a version of the A350 that likely requires tweaks to make LHR-SYD and JFK-SYD feasible.


Now I never expected this one! We have a large Jewish community in Melbourne so this makes perfect sense! I really hope this flight goes very successful indeed! Since the Gulf carriers don’t fly to Tel Aviv yet there will be an advantage here for El Al.


Phil the Middle East airlines will never fly to Tel Aviv…….


If you’ve seen the developments of ties between the Gulf States and Israel don’t be surprised if direct flights start between Tel Aviv and places like Dubai within the next decade. Plus Royal Jordanian and Turkish Airlines already fly to Israel and their Middle Eastern carriers.


Phil I would love if I was proved wrong! There is too much crap in the world and it would be wonderful if people could get along. Royal Jordanian and Turkish do fly there, but they have diplomatic relations with Israel. Qatar will NEVER have this, the State bank roll Hamas as for Emirates and Etihad, they would pee off too many Arab countries if they flew there.

Yfrah Aptekar

Yes, I would like to ride on one of the test flights


Wow! Interesting! I look forward to hearing how these flights go! Also, if the Melbourne services work out, would it be profitable to also open up a TLV-SYD route?


I doubt they were “inspired” by Qantas…… They would have looked at this from a commercial view point about 2 years ago before deciding. Hopes its successful 🙂


Hi Colm, El Al have been wanting to do this for years but apparently there were issues with Canada. Cheers.

Robert Kalin

I’m always envious of those who get to participate in inaugural or test flights. If saying “YES!” Gets me to be a participant—-hallelujah! Let know when to show up in Tel Aviv! Oy vey!!


I’m in TLV already so…just tell me when and i’ll test thos flights!!🇮🇱🇦🇺 up to it !! 👍

Daniel Baglietto Seymour

Well done EL AL for bringing Israel closer to everyone

Mark Thompson

17 hours to fly from Melbourne to Tel Aviv and another 17 hours to clear customs

Andrew Curran

Super interesting move by El Al and given the big Jewish diaspora in Melbourne probs a smart idea. I wonder if it will be the Aussies running security at the MEL or will the government let the Israeli’s do their thing?

Ada Davis

Fantastic news. Absolutely love to join the test flight on my preferred carrier El Al.

Imi Weinstein

yes, I’d like to be on one of test flights


I have flown on El Al my first time this year in their dreamliner economy and I must say I was very impressed at their legroom and service. I would definitely fly them again.