New jet fuel crisis may delay B-G flights

Water levels in fuel exceed state limit, fuel-oversight company says; Airport Authority warns of delays on long-haul flights.

November 20, 2011 10:10
1 minute read.
Ben Gurion airport

Ben Gurion airport 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Fears of a fuel crisis Sunday morning followed Saturday night's discovery of a water problem in Ben Gurion International Airport's jet fuel.

According to tests conducted by Paz Nachsei Teufah, the company responsible for maintaining the quality of airport fuel at Ben-Gurion, water levels in airport jet fuel exceeded the state limit. It appeared that water might have seeped into the fuel tanks, which apparently does not contaminate the fuel, but does dilute it.

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Flights resume at Ben Gurion after fuel contamination
Ben Gurion Airport resumes normal fueling procedures

As a result, the airport cautioned travelers that it may have to alter or cancel long-distance flights scheduled for Sunday evening.

According to Israeli media, the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) was not expected to cancel flights as of Sunday morning. At the same time, an emergency fuel tanker was stationed at the airport to provide additional fuel.

The IAA informed foreign airports of the potential for delay Sunday afternoon, according to Israel Radio.

Other airports in the country, including Sde Dov in north Tel Aviv and Ovdat Airport in Eilat, were not expected to experience delays, according to Israeli media.

The current fuel crisis occurred six months after a similar debacle grounded and delayed dozens of flights over fuel contamination in May.  

That contamination occurred because the electronic filters used to clean the fuel had not been changed for a decade, a commission tasked by the National Infrastructure Ministry reported.

According to the report, the filters became so clogged that they collapsed as the fuel passed through.

The commission also said that a report on the dirty filters was written as early as February, but had not been passed along to the proper authorities.

Globes contributed to this report.

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