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British Airways celebrates 80th anniversary in Israel – and refurbishes the Boeing 767s operated on the route

Investing over $40 million (£25m) to refurbish the cabin interiors of its B767 aircraft

British Airways began flying to Israel and the region in the 30’s Since 1932

British Airways is marking these days its 80th anniversary in Israel: the airline, then “Imperial Airways,” operated flights to the region already in 1932.

These early flights were operated by Scipio S17 flying boats, which landed on the Sea of Galilee.

 Nowadays, British Airways operates two daily flights on the Tel Aviv-London Heathrow route, using Boeing 777 and 767 aircraft.

British Airways has also announced that it is investing over $40 million (£25m) in refurbishing the cabin interiors of its B767 aircraft. Works are expected to be complete by February 2013.

These aircraft will all have a total cabin refurbishment, featuring sleek low-profile ceilings and lighting, new carpets and curtains throughout the aircraft as well as refreshed sidewalls and bulkheads. Brand new overhead lockers will increase wheelie bag stowage by 25%, and all washrooms will also be overhauled.

Katja Selle, Area General Manager for Europe and Africa: We are investing in new aircraft and introducing new cabins – as part of a £5 billion investment over the next five years in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies.

Yael Katan, British Airways Israel Commercial Manager, commented that the airline has a longstanding commitment of improving the service it offers its customers, noting the fact that British Airways was the first airline to introduce fully flat beds in the market. Katan also noted that British Airways flew over 250,000 passengers in the Tel Aviv-London route in 2011, flying approximately 33 million passengers around the world every year.

Hundreds of the airline’s top customers attended the festive event that was held at the residence of British Ambassador Matthew Gould and his wife Celia last Thursday, among which were Spanish Ambassador Álvaro Iranzo Gutiérrez, Iberia General Manager Israel Antonio Binefa, Boeing Israel President David Ivry, Yossi Vardi, Arie Mitkevich, Michael Strauss, Judge Danya Kereth, and singer Aviv Geffen – who came with his young son Dylan, radio star Didi Harari, and singers Gilad Segev and Moshe Datz.

British Airways is a founding member of the leading airline alliance oneworld. The merger with Iberia under the newly founded IAG group and the transatlantic alliance with Iberia and American Airlines give customers greater access to discounted fares, more convenient connections and better access to a global network of more than 500 destinations. IAG has recently announced the acquisition of bmi, which will allow the group to offer customers more destinations and better frequencies.

 Pictures (right-to-left, photographer: Assaf Shilo/Israel Sun)
·  British Ambassador Matthew Gould and wife Celia, British Airways Israel Manager Yael Katan, Alex Giladi
·  British Airways Israel Manager Yael Katan, Regional Sales Manager South East Europe Mark Moscardini, British Airways Area General Manager for Europe and Africa Katja Selle – holding model of the 1st aircraft to have landed in Israel – on the Sea of Galilee, back in the early 30’s.

** Further historical information, including photos and posters from BA’s past – available at the special British Airways Heritage page: