EL AL Israel Airlines to Fly Pope Francis and his Entourage Home to Rome Following his Historic Visit to Israel
26 May 2014- Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel…Following the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Israel, EL AL Israel Airlines will fly His Holiness and his entourage back to Rome aboard flight LY514, which is scheduled to depart on Monday May 26, 2014 in the evening. The flight will be operated by a Boeing 777 which has been affixed with the official coat of arms of Pope Francis and outfitted with the special items required for such a flight.
David Maimon, President and CEO of EL AL: "EL AL, the national airline of Israel, was chosen to provide this special flight for the Pope and his entourage following this historic trip to Israel. We have invested a great deal to ensure that all of the requirements are met and the flight profile that was created will highlight EL AL's uniqueness including a hand-picked crew that will serve the flight."
The Pope's entourage will include Vatican officials and international journalists who covered the visit.
Aside from the in-flight crew that was selected to serve His Holiness and his entourage, EL AL's head chef, Moshe Segev, has developed a specially designed menu highlighting Mediterranean dishes created from the finest Israeli products.
Pope Francis will be presented with a gift from David Maimon: a specially selected piece of art created by Yaacov Agam, entitled "Faith-Visual Pray.” Agam, an internationally acclaimed Israeli artist, is one of the founders of the Kinetic style whose artwork can be found in museums around the world. In this piece, Agam has integrated significant symbols of Judaism – the Star of David and the Menorah; the Menorah not only symbolizes the Holy Temple of Jerusalem but also the light of the seven churches of Christianity. The underlying message of this piece is that various symbolisms merge together, creating perfect harmony.
In addition, Mr. Maimon will present His Holiness with a specially published book for the occasion with greetings and messages from EL AL passengers from around the world. These greetings and messages were the result of a social media request by EL AL to its passengers giving them the opportunity to send their personal greetings to Pope Francis.
During the flight, a video highlighting this historic visit of Pope Francis, produced by Israel's Channel 2, will be screened.
EL AL will provide a gift to each of the passengers on this flight: a bottle of wine from Barkan Winery – from its Altitude 720 wines. The bottle is affixed with a souvenir label with the date and flight number of this historic flight. The Altitude series from the Barkan Winery has won prestigious awards for its 2009 vintage including the Double Gold and Best Kosher wine and the medal for Best Wine in its Price Category at the International Terra Vino Competition.
EL AL ISRAEL AIRLINES FLIES POPE FRANCIS HOME TO ROME
ON SPECIAL FLIGHT FOLLOWING HISTORIC VISIT TO ISRAEL
ON SPECIAL FLIGHT FOLLOWING HISTORIC VISIT TO ISRAEL
NEW YORK – May 27, 2014 – Following the monumental visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land, EL AL Israel Airlines flew His Holiness and 100 Vatican officials and international journalists to Rome aboard flight LY514, which departed the evening of Monday, May 26. The flight was operated on a Boeing 777 aircraft, which was adorned with the official coat of arms logo of Pope Francis and outfitted with an array of special services that were coordinated with The Vatican to enhance the flight experience and highlight the best of Israel.
"EL AL, the national airline of Israel, is proud to have been chosen to provide this special flight for the Pope and his entourage following this historic trip to Israel, “ said David Maimon, President and CEO of EL AL Israel Airlines. “We invested a great deal to ensure that all of the requirements were met and that the flight profile highlighted EL AL's uniqueness, including a handpicked crew that served the flight."
The handpicked in-flight crew of 15 was specially chosen to serve His Holiness and other members of the Vatican. The crew members represented all of Israel, people with diverse backgrounds. The captain of this special flight, Yaron Shimoni, is also the captain of EL AL’s 777 fleet and a former Israeli Air Force pilot. Many of the flight attendants speak numerous languages including Portuguese, Italian, French, Spanish, among others. In addition, many have been voted outstanding flight attendants along with other merits and recognitions.
In addition, EL AL's head chef, Moshe Segev, developed a one-of-a-kind menu highlighting Mediterranean dishes created from the finest Israeli products. During the flight, a video highlighting this historic visit of Pope Francis produced by Israel's Channel 2 was screened for their entertainment.
EL AL President, David Maimon, presented Pope Francis with two significant gifts including a selected piece of art created by internationally acclaimed Israeli artist Yaacov Agam entitled, "Faith-Visual Pray.” The artwork integrates symbols of Judaism including the Star of David and the Menorah, which not only symbolizes the Holy Temple of Jerusalem but also the light of the seven churches of Christianity. Maimon also presented Pope Francis with a published book of greetings and messages collected on social media from EL AL passengers around the world.
Lastly, all passengers received a bottle of wine from the Altitude 720 series from Barkan Winery that was affixed with a souvenir label with the date and flight number of this historic voyage. The Altitude 720 series has won prestigious awards for its 2009 vintage including the Double Gold and Best Kosher wine and the medal for Best Wine in its Price Category at the International Terra Vino Competition.
With the completion of this historic visit, the Israeli airline is encouraged that there will be a renewed desire for Catholics to visit the Holy Land. It was nearly 66 years ago when the decision was made to establish a national airline, and in search of an appropriate name they turned to the Bible for inspiration and chose “EL AL,” which was taken from the book of Hoseah, signifying to the most high.