One of the company’s planes (right) at Lod airfield
“Netivei Avir Eretz Yisrael” was founded by Pinhas Rutenberg. The company acquired two five-seat, twin-engine passenger planes. These were Short S-16 Scion 2 planes – the first airplanes registered in the Holy Land. The company’s mother base was established at Haifa airfield.
“Netivei Avir Eretz Yisrael” began its operations with a single pilot, an Englishman, who flew on the Haifa-Lod line. This line operated for several months, but was discontinued when Arab hostilities worsened, and the danger to passengers wishing to reach Lod became too great.
In 1938, the company – together with the Tel Aviv municipality – began readying an airfield near the city, which was to serve it as a permanent base. The field, which had a single 40 meter asphalt runway and a hangar for airplane maintenance, was inaugurated in October of 1938. When the company’s principal base of operations was shifted to Tel Aviv, it acquired a Dragon Rapide DH-98A and operated flights twice per day on the Tel Aviv – Haifa line. After a while, the line was lengthened to reach Beirut. The company’s activities ceased when WW2 broke out, but the small airfield it had prepared near Tel Aviv (today’s Sde Dov) would become the Sherut Avir’s principal base of operations in the War of Independence.