LONDON (Sep. 5)
Israels national airline, El Al, took possession yesterday of the first of four giant Bristol Britannia turboprop passenger planes. El Al will accept delivery of the second of the British-manufactured craft in two weeks and the remaining two will be delivered next Spring and Winter.
El A1 will inaugurate its Britannia Lydda-New York run by December. Under the most favorable circumstances, the planes are expected to make the westward flight in 17 hours and the eastward trip in 14. The Britannias are designed to carry 18 first class passengers and 62 in tourist accommodations, but can be adapted for the use of 102 tourist passengers or 120 in a special thrift class. All-Israeli crews will pilot the ‘whispering giants’ on their transatlantic and transcontinental flights.
The cost of the huge planes is 1,300,000 pounds sterling ($3,640,000) each, with another 100,000 pounds sterling for interior fittings. Brig. Ephraim Ben Artzi, general manager of the line, told newsmen that El A1 paid 50 percent down on the first three planes and the remainder of the cost will be financed with five-year loans from several London banks. Negotiations continue on the financing of the fourth four-engine liner.