1088 People In One Aircraft

Thu Apr 01, 1999 6:45 am

I just read an article in an old book stating that a 747-200 used by El-Al or the israel airforce lifted a 1088 people at once when ethiopian jews were evacuated to israel on 24th may 1991...........This is unbelievable......surely it could not have been safe or legal.......and must have been extremely dangerous....any one else ever read about it?

RE: 1088 People In One Aircraft

Thu Apr 01, 1999 7:17 am

I haven't heard about this, but I will say two things. As far as safety is conncered, it may have been safer to cram a lot of people into the plane than to leave them in an area that was being evacuated. As for legality, if it was operated by or under the authority of the Air Force, they may have had permission to operate the aircraft with too many people on board.
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RE: 1088 People In One Aircraft

Thu Apr 01, 1999 7:35 am

Yes, this story is true. Several aircraft were involved in this airlift (747s, 757s, 767s, 707s, C130s). Read all about it at the following site (there are also a couple of pictures).

v jet
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RE: 1088 People In One Aircraft

Thu Apr 01, 1999 8:10 am

It's amazing what these acft can do isn't it. I think the previous record for the number of people uplifted in a 747 was set by Qantas in December 1974 after the northern Australian city of Darwin was devastated by Cyclone Tracy, (Hurricane) for those forumites in the northern hemisphere. A 747-200 was used and I think the number of people on it was just over 600. Someone pls correct this number if it is incorrect. I just cant find the exact number right now. This acft had the standard seating configuration at the time. I believe the El Al acft mentioned in the original post had some or all of the seats removed. I have seen pics of it some years ago. Has anyone else seen the pics?

RE: 1088 People In One Aircraft

Thu Apr 01, 1999 8:24 am

There is an excellent movie about this event. The name of it is "Raid on Entebbe". It doesn't really address the issue of jumbo jet capacity, but it does relate the story of this incredible rescue. The hostages were Ehtiopian Jews being held by some gov't/terrorist group at an airport/air base somewhere in Ethiopia. Israeli special forces stormed the airport hangar? where the hostages were being held and suffered a single fatality in the rescue. No hostages were killed but all hostage takers were.

By the way, who needs a super-jumbo with this type of capaciity already on the market? Well, seats can come in handy on a 14 hour haul.
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RE: 1088 People In One Aircraft

Thu Apr 01, 1999 10:08 am

This was in the guiness book of world records.
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RE: 1088 People In One Aircraft

Thu Apr 01, 1999 12:30 pm

The raid on Entebee had nothing to do with the Ethiopian Jews. Did you watch the movie? The raid on Entebee was to rescue people who were involved in a hijacking. And the Recuers were the Israeli special forces in C-130's.
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World Airways Story

Thu Apr 01, 1999 1:09 pm

This is a little story taken form the World Airways website ( that fits the same theme:

"Daly [World's president], the humanitarian, ignored official advice and, on March 29, 1975, flew the two 727s to Da Nang in hopes of rescuing women and children. When the first plane landed, with Daly aboard, thousands of people rushed the plane and clambered aboard anywhere they could. Daly stood at the ventral airstairs using his Golden Glove hands and the butt of a pistol to knock off the soldiers trying to climb aboard the already overloaded plane. With the runway full of people racing toward the airplane, the flight's captain, Ken Healy, took off from a parallel taxiway of about 5,000 feet in length. Despite being hit by a grenade, several bullet holes, and striking a pole on take-off, the aircraft made the usual 40 minute flight in just over two hours. When the aircraft landed at Saigon the crew figured out that they had carried somewhere between 330 and 338 "passengers" - including about 60 in the cargo compartments and eight in the landing gear wells."

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RE: World Airways Story

Thu Apr 01, 1999 2:20 pm

They had pictures of the aircraft in the story that Airliners did about World a while back. Sorry don't remember which issue.

They had to make the roll with the Airstair door down. The weren't able to retract the main gear and both cargo pit doors where left open. There is a great picture taken from another aircraft of that bird during the flight. They have it in the issue. I remember a long time ago seeing footage that was taken by a news crew on that flight two. Dan Rather narrating it sticks in my mind but don't hold me to that.

The aircraft was a 727-100 also. The grenade jammed the flaps.

The most people I had heard about in one lift was around 800 that was moved by an AN-124. They put portable lavs in the cargo area and layed foam down for the people to sit on.


RE: Stu Is Right

Thu Apr 01, 1999 10:59 pm

That's right, Entebbe had nothing to do with this. In fact Entebbe is in Uganda, not Etheopia (oh, I guess Africa is all the same).

Entebbe involved a hijack of an airliner by the PLO. Idi Amin was the then leader of Uganda as was not particulary helpful in solving this crises, so the Israelis went in by themselves in quite an increadible operation.

As far as the situation in Etheopia goes, in a way it saddens me that so much effort was put into rescuing people from an (arguably) dangerous situation (rebels closing in on the city), but only rescuing those belonging to a certain race/religion.
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Fri Apr 02, 1999 4:41 am

Yes, the El Al story is correct.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower

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