The “Wing of Zion,” the aircraft of the president and prime minister of Israel, will make its official debut on a flight to Dubai in November.
President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are leading an Israeli delegation to the annual United Nations climate conference, which is being held in the United Arab Emirates starting on Nov. 30.
Dubbed the “Israeli Air Force 1” by Israeli media after the plane that carries the president of the United States, the Boeing 767-338ER passenger aircraft arrived in Israel in 2016 and has undergone a significant conversion and upgrade, taking its first post-conversion test flight in 2019 and receiving its flight certificate in 2021.
The 23-year-old, 120-seat plane was previously owned by Australian Airlines and Qantas.
State-of-the-art features after the renovations include a defense system against shoulder-fired missiles developed by Haifa-based Elbit Systems that intercepts the threat with a laser beam. Defense systems against cyber-attacks were also installed.
The flight crew accompanied Netanyahu on his visit to Cyprus this week to learn the operational procedures before embarking on the maiden trip to the UAE state later this year.
Under the previous government, prime ministers Naftali Bennet and Yair Lapid did not bring the plane into operation.
Until now, Israeli prime ministers and presidents flew on chartered flights mainly operated by El Al.