El Al Outlines Melbourne Ultra-Long-Haul Flight Test Plan

El Al has outlined its plans to trial ultra-long-haul flights between Tel Aviv and Melbourne. In the spirit of Qantas’ Project Sunrise tests, the airline will operate three test trips using Boeing 787 aircraft next year.

El Al, Tel Aviv, Melbourne
El Al has outlined its plans to operate trial flights to Melbourne. Photo: Boeing

Back in November, El Al announced ambitions to trial non-stop flights between Tel Aviv and Melbourne. At the time, the Isreali airline was quite scant on details regarding the flights. However, we now have more of an idea of how these flights will look when they take off. Reuters spotted that the first of three will take place in April 2020.

Three test trips

El Al will operate a total of six test flights between Tel Aviv and Melbourne, three in each direction. These will all be conducted by the carrier’s Boeing 787 fleet. In fact, the airline recently received its first of the smaller Boeing 787-8 variant from the American aerospace manufacturer. The airline will initially trial the flights in April and May of 2020.

The flights will be operated by Boeing 787-9 aircraft, the larger of the two types in the El Al fleet. Perhaps the carrier will schedule its Boeing 787-9 with the special “Jerusalem of Gold” livery for the special occasion. Unlike Project Sunrise, El Al is allowing customers to book tickets on the flight.

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

Flight schedule

Tickets for the 17-18 hour flights are now on sale, giving us an insight into the schedule the carrier will use. The flights from Tel Aviv to Melbourne will take place on the 2nd of April, 23rd of April, and 14th of May. The return flights will operate on the 4th of April, 25th of April, and 16th of May. Each 787 rotation will operate to the following schedule:

  • LY87 will depart from Tel Aviv at 12:15 local time (With the exception of the 2nd of April flight departing at 11:15). Following the mammoth 17-hour and 45-minute flight, the Boeing 787-9 will touch down in Melbourne at 11:30 the next day.
  • LY88 will depart from Melbourne at 23:15 local time. The aircraft will land at 09:00 the next day following its 16-hour and 45-minute flight.
El Al, Tel Aviv, Melbourne
Tickets for the flight are now on sale from El Al. Image: El Al


El Al expects that flying from Melbourne to Tel Aviv will take the carrier 17 hours and 45. Should the flight begin to operate on a commercial basis, that would make it the world’s third-longest scheduled flight.

According to the Telegraph, Singapore Airlines currently holds the record for the longest flight at 18-hours and 45-minutes flying from Newark to Singapore. This is closely followed by Qatar Airways’ 17-hour and 50-minute flight between Auckland and Doha.

Will you be booking a place on these historic El Al flights between Tel Aviv and Melbourne? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.