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Palestine Airways

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Palestine Airways airplane, 1934

Palestine Airways (also: Palestine Air Transport) was an airline founded by Zionist Pinhas Rutenberg in British Palestine, in conjunction with the Histadrut and the Jewish Agency.[1][2][3]In 1937 the airline was taken over by British Government's Air Ministry, with the intention of it eventually being transferred back into private hands.[4]

It operated from July 1937 until August 1940, under the aegis of the British corporation Imperial Airways.[5][6]


Based in Haifa in July 1937 it commenced commercial flights 3 times a week to Lydda. This line operated for several months, but was discontinued when Arab hostilities worsened, and the danger to passengers travelling from Tel Aviv, the main Jewish population centre, to Lydda Airport through Arab majority territory overland, became too great[7] [8] [9]In October 1938 Palestinian Airways moved its main base to the newly built Tel Aviv Airport (in 1940 renamed Sde Dov) and commenced operations on the Tel Aviv to Haifa route, flying twice a day in their de Havilland Rapide.[10]The route was later extended from Haifa to Beirut.[11]

Palestine Airways ceased operations in August 1940 when its aircraft were taken over by the RAF for use in the war effort.[12]


Initially in July 1937 the airline flew two twin-engine, five seat, cantilever Short Scion monoplanes. In 1938 two additional aircraft were acquired - a de Havilland Dragon Rapide and a Short Scion Senior landplane version of the float-plane (which later in Royal Air Force service was lost in action on 22 September 1943).[13]

An advertising poster for the short-lived airline survives.[14]


  1. ^ Dagan, Peretz (1955). Pillars of Israel Economy. I. Lipschitz. p. 306.
  2. ^ Davies, Ronald Edward George (1964). A History of the World's Airlines. Oxford University Press. p. 200.
  3. ^ "Jewish Airline". Israel Air Force. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  4. ^ http://www.jta.org/1945/07/27/archive/palestine-airways-expects-to-resume-service-shortly-throughout-middle-east
  5. ^ Edelheit, Hershel (2000). History of Zionism. Westview Press. p. 571. ISBN 0813329817.
  6. ^ https://www.aiaa.org/Secondary.aspx?id=359
  7. ^ Jacobs, Andrea (3 April 2009). "Book Review: The history of El Al and marketing strategy secrets". Intermountain Jewish News. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Gaza airport and Palestinian Airlines". Jewish American Heritage Month. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  9. ^ History of Flight Around the World - Israel
  10. ^ http://www.iaf.org.il/3025-4403-en/IAF.aspx
  11. ^ http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/palesta.htm
  12. ^ http://www.gazaairport.com/history.html
  13. ^ http://www.airhistory.org.uk/gy/reg_VQ-P.html
  14. ^ "Palestine Airways, Ltd". http://www.palestineposterproject.org. Palestine Poster Project Archives. Retrieved 19 November 2014. External link in |website= (help)