RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — El Al made its debut flight between Israel and Brazil, its first new destination in 10 years.
The inauguration ceremony of the nonstop flight between Tel Aviv and Sao Paulo was held early Sunday morning. El Al’s Boeing 777 aircrafts will fly nonstop to Brazil on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in a route to take 14 hours, 45 minutes.
El Al CEO Haim Romano said the new operations would boost the already rising phenomenon of Israeli tourism in South America, as well as serve the large Jewish communities on the continent, including Brazil’s 120,000 Jews. From Sao Paulo, passengers will be able to connect to other destinations throughout Brazil and South America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Equador, Peru and Uruguay.
Several officials attended the ceremony. Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Meir Lau recalled the importance of Brazil and its diplomat Oswaldo Aranha, who headed the United Nations delegation that supported and heavily lobbied for the creation of the State of Israel.
More than 31,000 Brazilians visited Israel in 2008, up more than 50 percent from the previous year.