The first of El Al Airlines new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft arrived in Ben Gurion Airport Wednesday, marking the delivery of one element of the largest ever United Kingdom-Israel trade agreement.
The Israeli airline agreed to purchase 15 of the Dreamliner aircrafts from Boeing. The deal included a long term agreement with Rolls-Royce, signed in March 2016, for the supply and maintenance of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines produced in the main Rolls-Royce factory in Derby, which will power the new Dreamliners.
UK Ambassador to Israel David Quarrey called the £1 billion ($1.28 billion) agreement the “biggest ever export deal to Israel… reflecting the strength of the commercial ties between Britain and Israel.”
El Al President and CEO David Maimon said that “the decision to work with Rolls Royce was natural” and called the British firm “a major player in the field of aircraft engines.”
From September, the Dreamliner will operate flights to Europe before being used on long-haul journeys beginning in October. El Al retained the option to purchase another 13 Dreamliners as they continue to renew their fleet.
The Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and International Development, Alistair Burt MP, attended the arrival ceremony and said, “We have a longstanding relationship with Israel and I have witnessed first-hand the strength of this partnership in many areas from trade and investment to technology and innovation. This relationship will continue to grow and benefit both of our nations.”
Burt was on a visit to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, where he has met young Israeli tech developers and the Nazareth branch of the London-based free coding school Founders & Coders, along with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
The UK is Israel’s second largest trading partner, with bilateral trade doubling over the past decade to reach £5.5 billion ($7.05 billion) per year.