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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
An El Al flight from Toronto and Spanish airliner Iberia from Madrid narrowly averted collision Thursday as the two approached landing at Ben-Gurion Airport at the same time.
El Al said its pilots on flight LY104 were preparing to land in Tel Aviv when they noticed the Iberia plane, next in line for landing, descending in a strange manner towards it.
El Al pilots turned the plane to the right away from the Iberia aircraft before returning to land, Lior Yavor, VP sales at EL AL.
In response, Iberian spokesman Jaime Perez-Guerro said the Spanish airliner's crew had reported that it had been given clearance from the Ben-Gurion Airport control tower to follow a known visual landing approach whereby they would follow the path of the plane two to four kilometers in front of them.
"Our crew followed the instructions but noticed that there was another plane behind them and that it had crossed into their landing path, at which point both planes aborted plans to land," said Perez-Guerro based on the first reports the company received from its crew.
Ben-Gurion Airport sales manager Arieh Gilad, assigned to investigate the incident, said that the Iberia plane, in its approach, aborted its course after making visual contact with the El Al flight on its approach.
The airport's flight inspector noticed that the Iberia plane had cut into the El Al plane's path and sent it off course away from collision, Gilad said.
Both planes circled again to land safely.