In September 1948, El Al’s first flight brings home from Geneva Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizman.
Two months later, the airline is incorporated and becomes the official carrier of Israel.
Between 1950 and 1956, El Al carries 160,000 immigrants to Israel from Yemen, Iran, and India as part of Operation Magic Carpet and Operation Ezra and Nehemiah.
In June 1961, the first nonstop flight on the New York – Tel Aviv route sets a world record for the longest commercial flight – 5,760 statute miles and a time of 9 hours and 33 minutes.
In 1968, regular flights to Bucharest were inaugurated, cargo flights to Europe and the USA also being introduced.
In 1971, El Al acquires its first Boeing 747.
Two years later, another Boeing 747 belonging to El Al inaugurated the non-stop regular service from Tel Aviv to New York, flying against prevailing winds and staying in the air for 13 hours – a new “longest commercial flight in the world” record.
In April, 1980, El Al flies to Cairo for the first time.
Four years later, the first international Boeing 767 flight connects Montreal and Tel Aviv, thanks to El Al.
A new world record is established in May, 1988 – Los Angeles to Tel Aviv: no less than 7,000 statute miles and 13 hours, 41 minutes!
In 1990, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, El Al inaugurated services to Moscow.
On the 24th of May, 1991, as part of Operation Solomon, an El Al Boeing 747 cargo plane airlifted no less than 1,087 Ethiopian Jews from Addis Ababa to Israel, establishing a record that stands to this day.
In 1997, El Al opened a separate cargo division.
In March, 2000, El Al’s first Boeing 777 joined the fleet, making its first flight for the airline.
In June, 2004, El Al ceases to be a government company, and control is transferred to private ownership one year later.
In July, 2007, El Al receives two new Boeing 777-200 aircraft, equipped with the most advanced seats and entertainment systems of their kinds.
A few months later, El Al distributes dividends to its stockholders, for the first time.
During 2008, the airline purchases another Boeing 747-400 aircraft, leases two 737-800 planes and also signs agreements for the purchase of four new 777-200 aircraft from Boeing.
In 2008, the airline was named by Global Traveler magazine as the world’s most secure airline.
In August 2010, EL AL started flights in the Israel’s domestic flight market with flights to Eilat.
In May 2011, EL AL Israel Airlines and the Russian Siberia Airlines (S7) announce a codeshare agreement, enabling EL AL passengers to fly to additional destinations in central Russia.
In July 2011, EL AL added sixth Boeing 747-400 to the fleet.
In September 2011, EL AL signs cooperative agreement with the Canadian WestJet Airlines, enabling continuation flights from Toronto to/from 30 destinations in Canada, the US and the Caribbean Islands.
In May 2012, EL AL presents the new “EL AL Upgrade” service, a new and convenient system for upgrading to premium Classes, purchasing preferred seats in Economy Class and more, and Economy Class Plus, a new and improved Economy Class section with more comfortable seats, greater seat recline, more legroom and other extras.
In November 2012, Boeing 757 aircraft retire from EL AL service after 25 years of operation.
In December 2012, the popular tourism magazine, Travel & Leisure, selects EL AL as one of the 20 leading airlines in the world, and the Matmid Frequent Flyer Club is named the Best Frequent Flyer Club of any airline of the Middle East.
In the fall of 2013, EL AL flights to Eilat have been suspended until further notice. EL AL doesn’t compromise on the safety of its passengers, and flights to Eilat will be renewed only when a safe flight path is assured.
In November 2013, EL AL unveiled its new low-cost airline UP with two flight service classes, Economy Class and Economy Class Plus. UP offers low-fare flights at special terms with two types of tickets, UP Basic and UP Smart.
In March 2014, UP launched operations to Berlin, Budapest, Kiev, Larnaca and Prague using five Boeing 737-800s transferred from EL AL’s fleet.
In 2015, El Al announced the largest new aircraft acquisition program in the company’s history: the purchase and lease of a mix of 15 Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliners which will replace the over 20-years-old fleets of Boeing B747-400 and B767-300ER.
In 2016, EL AL received the last of 8 Boeing B737 900ER aircraft purchased, which serve the European routes, and also retired the last Boeing B737-700 aircraft.
In 2017, EL AL started operating its first Boeing B787-9 aircraft. By 2020, a total of 16 Boeing B787 Dreamliners will replace all wide-body planes, and the average age of the wide-body fleet will be six years.
During its history, El Al has been targeted by terrorists pretty often, but only a hijacking was successful so far. First deadly incident occurred in 1951, when a DC-4 on a cargo flight from Tel Aviv to Amsterdam crashed near Zurich, killing 6 crew members, and the last one took place in early July, 2002, when Hesham Mohamed Hadayet shot six Israelis, two of them dying later, at El Al’s ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport before he was shot and killed by an El Al security guard.