The Israel Airports Authority has decided to temporarily suspend the air traffic controllers involved in a near-accident at Ben Gurion International Airport last Thursday, Israel Radio reported Monday.
The near-miss happened when a Lufthansa plane was directed to land on a runway where an El Al plane was preparing for take-off.
An initial IAA investigation suggested that the incident was a close call, judgment wise, as the air traffic controllers had allowed for an acceptable proximity between the two planes according to regulations. Regardless, the Lufthansa plane was told to circle around and come back to land.
Nonetheless, the IAA decided that the employees will be suspended until a full probe is completed, the report added.
The incident took place two days after a Russian commercial airplane narrowly avoided disaster after missing the landing strip at Ben Gurion. The passenger jet had arrived at the airport from the South, and was preparing to land when the air traffic controllers realized the pilot was planning to land on the wrong landing strip and instructed him to turn back.
Several minutes later, the control tower noted that again the airplane had come from the wrong angle, and alerted the pilot about his error to avoid the jet crashing into Route 1, the highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
On the third try, the jet finally landed on its designated landing strip at the Ben Gurion Airport.