By Bob Weiss, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) – Governor Deval Patrick was in a traveling mood Monday as he prepares to leave office.

He presided over an official announcement at his State House office stating that El Al Israel Airlines will begin Boston non-stop flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport next year. In the same afternoon, Governor Patrick rededicated South Station to honor former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

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Two weeks ago, Patrick promised the state’s tourism conference that he hoped to announce another new international destination for Logan Airport. He delivered on that statement.

El Al will have three flights a week starting the last week in June. Again, Boston beat out several U.S. airports for the new international service.

The Boeing 767-399ER jet will make the flight in just over nine hours. The aircraft will be able to carry 218 passengers including 22 business class ticket holders.

For El Al, the new service will mark a return to Logan Airport where it last flew in the late 1980’s. The carrier expects a strong mix of business, leisure and student travel.

Research showed that more than 200 companies and organizations in New England traveled extensively to Israel. Currently, the Boston-Tel Aviv market averages 91 passengers a day in each direction. Last year more than $45 million in ticket sales were generated on U.S. and international carriers.

Recently JetBlue Airways signed a code-sharing agreement with El Al that will bring connecting passengers to Logan Airport from its northeast destinations.

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El Al will be the third Mid-East airline to begin flights from Logan Airport in a 14 month period. The carrier will join Emirates and Turkish Airlines with Boston service.

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

The Michael S. Dukakis South Station Transportation Center honors the former governor who rode the Green Line to work at the State House and pushed forward the MBA Red Line expansion from Harvard Square to Alewife Station. He also served on the Amtrak Board of Directors.

South Station was opened in 1898 and underwent a complete overhaul in the late 1980’s.

Governor Patrick praised the former Governor as a tireless advocate of public transportation and advocacy.

This reporter remembers then Governor Dukakis taking a group of media people to inspect the underside of the Longfellow Bridge over the Esplanade. Something needs to be done to fix it said the Governor. Three decades later the job is almost finished.

Bob Weiss and his All Things Travel Reports can be heard on WBZ News Radio

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