El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) will carry out 20 cargo flights from China to Israel over the next two weeks to bring urgent medical equipment back to Israel to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. El Al will use its Dreamliner Boeing 787 aircraft, which are can carry up to 50 tons of cargo, and are currently grounded, and Boeing 777 passenger planes, which were recently converted to cargo aircraft, and can carry up to 100 tons of cargo.
The first 11 planes departed today as part of a joint mission by El Al with the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israel Chemicals. The first plane will bring back 900,000 surgical masks, 500,000 medical staff protection suits and other vital equipment.
El Al announced last week that it was extending its suspension of all commercial passenger flights until May 2. Over the past few weeks, the only passenger flights operated by El Al were to bring home stranded Israelis from locations ranging from Lima, Peru and Bogota, Colombia to Delhi in India and Perth and Melbourne in Australia. El Al has also been continuing to operate cargo flights.
El Al is not the only carrier participating in the airlift of medical equipment from China. Over the weekend, Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. sent its first-ever flight to China to bring back 2 million masks from Shenzhen. The Airbus 320 was unable to fly to China with one tank and had to touch down at Alma Ati in Kazakhstan to refuel. Israir is also operating regular cargo flights to London.
Israeli carrier CAL Cargo Airlines is also taking part in the airlift of medical equipment from China. The urgently-needed equipment includes protective equipment for medical teams.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 5, 2020
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