Near collision over Ben Gurion Airport

Air Berlin flight that had just taken off, apparently veered from its course and came close to hitting an El Al jet approaching landing.

By RON FRIEDMAN
November 18, 2010 19:46
1 minute read.
An airplane takes off at the Duesseldorf airport,

airplane. (photo credit: AP)

A collision of two commercial aircraft was avoided at Ben Gurion Airport Thursday afternoon due to vigilance of an air traffic controller.

The collision was averted when the flight controller saw that an Air Berlin plane that had just taken off, apparently veered from its course and came close to hitting an El Al jet approaching landing. The alert flight controller hailed both planes on the radio and instructed them to change course.

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The collision was avoided and the German plane returned to its intended route on its way to Germany and the El Al plane landed safely after circling the airport once more.

The Israel Aviation Authority stated that the passengers were not at risk at any point and that the details of the incident were passed on to the Ministry of Transportation for investigation.

The near collision was one of several averted disasters recently at the airport. In June, an error by the pilot of a Turkish Airlines passenger jet preparing for takeoff resulted in a collision.

After receiving an order to line up for takeoff and to halt the aircraft at a certain point, the Corendon Airlines pilot confirmed receiving the order but continued on toward the takeoff runway, failing to stop at the designated position, the authority said in a report sent to the chief investigator. The same runway had been allocated for a landing by the Romanian Tarom jet.

A control tower operator identified the error and instructed the Tarom plane to circle the runway. Had the error not been rectified, the planes could have collided.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.


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