Palestinian employees in the Israel-occupied West Bank are putting the final touches on a decommissioned Boeing 707 aircraft to ready it for a new kind of takeoff: as a restaurant.
The Owner, 60-year-old twin brothers Ata and Khamis al-Sairafi, expect to welcome their first customers within weeks at the site in an isolated mountain area near Nablus.
Inside the old jet’s cabin, the seats have been stripped out and the window panes removed. Tables will soon be fitted in the fuselage, which has been painted white with laminate wooden floors.
The brothers plan to call their aviation-themed eatery, which is decorated with Palestinian and Jordanian flags – “the Palestinian-Jordanian Airline Restaurant and Coffee Shop Al-Sairafi Nablus”.
“We will start by providing hookahs,” said Khamis, for people who enjoy smoking tobacco through water pipes, before later expanding the business into an event space.
“The cockpit will be a suitable place for any newlyweds who come to us for their wedding ceremony.”
The Sairafi brothers — identical twins who were sporting matching yellow shirts, khaki shorts and red sneakers during AFP’s visit – are known for their interest in unusual initiatives.
Ata said he and his brother were working as scrap metal traders two decades ago when he learned about a 1980s-era passenger plane sitting near Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel.
They purchased it in 1999, even though there was – and still is – no airport in the Palestinian Territories, usually forcing residents who want to fly abroad to travel via Jordan.