After years of relying on retired Israeli Air Force pilots to pilot the company's jets, El Al has opened a civil aviation course to train pilots for its expanded routes.
With the opening of the latest course, the airline was inundated with applications from around the world – and, in the end, accepted ten applicants from outside of Israel.
Those applicants – now course members – hail from the United States, Canada, Panama, Macau, Vietnam, and South Africa. In order to be accepted into the course, the prospective pilots had to take on Israeli citizenship and commit to working for an airline for several years.
Most of the applicants are Israeli and veterans of the Air Force, but about a third are from other Israeli airlines and foreign carriers.
Among the course members are three women – one of them from a haredi background. According to the company, women pilots are just as welcome as male pilots and the company has been actively reaching out to women to encourage them to join.
Among the features of the three and a half month course are training sessions on a flight simulator, training on repairs and dealing with emergencies.
The best pilots, the airline said, will be “rewarded” with a spot on the new El Al fleet planes, the 787 Dreamliners that are on order.