El Al and the Operation Solomon
1 - IntroductionOperation Solomon is an Israeli military operation in 1991 which allowed to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
This operation, who experienced a real aviation feat, was the largest immigration of Beta Israel to their new "national home" twice as Operation Moses and Operation Joshua met.
2 - Background
The Ethiopian regime is destabilized by rebels in 1991.
Several Jewish organizations and the State of Israel are so concerned about the fate of large communities of Falasha or Beta Israel who lived in Ethiopia and whose mass emigration yet desired by these people was hampered so far by the Mengistu Haile Mariam regime .
The weakening of the latter is an opportunity to allow the Aliyah of Ethiopian Jews according to a plan already devised since 1990.
3 - EL AL contribution in this transport
In 36 hours, 34 aircraft of the Israeli airline El Al and C-130 fromIsraeli air force released 41 trips and transport 14,400 Jews from Ethiopia to Israel.
With sometimes 28 aircraft in the air at the same time, making the trip in Tel Aviv - Addis Ababa.
This operation record (May 24, 1991) the largest number of passengers boarding for a flight with 1222 passengers (1087 registered more young children) carried in a Boeing 747 from EL AL!!!!
Normally It was planned to have carried 760 passengers, but the malnourished refugees were under weight.
Then, 1087 passengers were allowed to board on the plane , but additional children had been hidden under their mothers' dresses.
Note : A380 Capacity = 525 PAX
To accomplish this feat, passengers were forced to abandon their meager possessions. They put on their clothes and boarded with their spiritual leaders and officiants called Kes.
To raise the maximum number of passengers, seats were removed and users have made the trip, fortunately relatively short sitting down and tight against each other.