El Al will be offering direct flights between Tel Aviv and Chicago starting in 2020, stated Israel’s flag carrier last week in its quarterly earnings report.
This development comes as the airline will acquire additional Boeing 787 Dreamliners, having already acquired eight of the 16 it ordered, according to the Israeli financial news site Globes.
In North America, El Al currently flies out of New York; Newark, N.J.; Los Angeles; Boston; Miami; and Toronto.
That will soon expand as the airline offers flights from San Francisco starting on May 13; Las Vegas beginning on June 14; and Orlando, Fla., as of July 2.
Leaders from the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation, along with then-Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Roey Gilad, met in 2016 with both Chicago Department of Aviation and El Al officials to convince the airline to open a hub at O’Hare International Airport in the Windy City.
“El Al’s return to the Chicago market with a direct flight to Israel is a long-awaited, exciting development,” JUF executive vice president Jay Tcath told JNS. “Though their absence was longer than anyone imagined or hoped for, there was never any doubt but that they would return.
“That return is most welcomed by religious pilgrims of all faiths, business professionals, academics and artists—in short, anyone and everyone who is looking forward to their first or their 50th trip to Israel,“ he said. “The renewed direct flights will make all types of exchanges—goods and services, research, tourism, medical cooperation and people to people—easier and therefore more frequent and profitable for all.”