El Al bids farewell to 747 plane with sky art 'drawing'

Amy Woodyatt, CNNPublished 3rd November 2019
EL-AL Boeing 747-400 sits on the tarmac in Terminal 1 of Barcelona-El Prat Airport, in Barcelona, Spain, 06 September 2015. El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. Since its inaugural flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv in September 1948, the airline has grown to serve some 45 destinations, operating scheduled domestic and international services and cargo flights to Europe, North America, Africa and the Near and Far East from its main base in Ben Gurion International Airport. (Photo by Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images)
(CNN) — After 48 years, El Al is retiring its 747 fleet -- and to say goodbye, Israel's national carrier used a flight tracker to "draw" the plane in the skies over the Mediterranean Sea.
Departing from Rome at 10am local time on Sunday, the Boeing 747 Jumbo took a one-time flightpath to create the shape commemorating El Al's final commercial 747 flight.
According to the airline, Flight LY1747 began "painting" two hours after take-off, as the plane flew above southern Cyprus.
Flight LY1747 descended to 10,000 feet to begin the artwork, according to flight tracking service FlightRadar24, which documented the trip in a series of images posted to its Twitter feed.
The aircraft flew for just under four hours before landing in Tel Aviv, according to the tracker.
Known as the "Queen of the Skies," the first Boeing 747 made its maiden flight on February 9, 1969.
A year later, the plane entered service with Pan American World Airways; it has been a passenger favourite ever since.
There are close to 500 747s still flying, although many airlines are now replacing their passenger 747s with larger, more advanced, and more efficient twin-engine planes.
El Al said it had flown many different 747 models in its five decades using the jet, but is now replacing them with a new fleet of 787 Dreamliners.