Article - Seventy Years of Civil Aviation in Israel 9/4/2018
70 Years of Civil Aviation in Israel
The history of EL AL is intertwined with that of the State of Israel.
The company was officially founded in 1949, but in fact its first flight took off in September 1948, flying President Chaim Weizmann from Geneva to Israel. The Swiss would not allow military aircraft to land in their territory, thus the company quickly turned a DC-4 Skymaster into a civilian plane. This plane, which opened the era of EL Al's civilian flights, was called "Rehovot". The establishment of an Israeli airline was significant not only as a business endeavor but as a means of contact among the Jewish towns in Eretz Israel and their defense.
Between 1950 and 1956, the airline flew more than 160,000 new immigrants from Yemen, Iran and India as part of operations Magic Carpet and Ezra and Nechemia. On May 20, 1960 EL AL made a special flight to Argentina - the Finale operation, which brought the Nazi Adolf Eichmann from Buenos Aires to Israel.
El Al serves some 5.5 million passengers each year. The company has 43 planes that fly to 36 direct destinations around the world as well as hundreds of connections through share agreements with other airlines.
In June 2003, EL AL was issued on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange as part of its privatization proceedings and in January 2005 control of the company moved into private hands. Today, Knafaim Holdings Arkia Ltd. holds approximately 40% of the shares issued by the company.
In early 2017, El Al signed an agreement with Boeing to purchase 16 wide body 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the largest equipment plan in company history.
Description of the Stamp
The stamp features a DC-4 4X-ACD Skymaster aircraft named "Herzl". This plane flew El Al's official inaugural flight from Orly Airport in Paris to Israel on July 31, 1949, with a fuel stop in Rome.