Ben-Gurion Airport baggage malfunction causes travel disruption

"[Baggage handling] bypass systems are currently in operation and luggage is being loaded onto aircraft," the Israel Airports Authority said in a statement.

August 13, 2019 03:24
1 minute read.
Ben-Gurion Airport baggage malfunction causes travel disruption

Ben-Gurion Airport baggage malfunction causes travel disruption . (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)

Dozens of flights were severely delayed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday as a baggage handling system malfunction prevented the sorting and loading of suitcases onto departing airplanes.

The malfunction affected Ben-Gurion’s Terminal 3, the largest of the airport’s two passenger terminals, at the peak of the summer travel season.

An expected 2.8 million passengers are expected to pass through the airport during August, with 90,000 due to depart and arrive on Monday alone.

Some morning flights departed without any luggage on-board as suitcases piled up in the main Terminal 3 check-in hall. Passengers were due to be reunited with their belongings later the same day or in the coming days, depending on subsequent flights to their destination.

“There is a technological system designed to enable inspection without baggage profiling,” Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich told KAN Bet radio as technicians sought to fix the carousels that ground to a halt in the morning. “It can happen that such systems also break down. There are technicians working to fix them as quickly as possible, but there is no estimate of when this will occur. They are working on it as quickly as possible.”

By 1:30 p.m., the Airports Authority announced that baggage handling systems had commenced working again, but protracted delays to departures persisted throughout the day.

“An additional sorting area entered into operation, providing a partial solution for sorting the luggage,” the Israel Airports Authority said in a statement. “At the same time, a bypass system was organized to transfer the luggage... We are doing everything possible to reduce the delays to the flight timetable resulting from the system fault.”

Under Israeli law since 2012, if a flight is delayed by more than two hours beyond the scheduled time of departure, the airline is required to provide passengers with meals, beverages and free access to communication services.

If a flight is canceled or takes off more than five hours after its scheduled departure, passengers are entitled to cancel their ticket and receive a full refund, or be re-routed to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or a later date at their convenience.

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