Accident at Ben Gurion narrowly averted

Israir airliner practicing landing nearly collides with Turkish jet preparing to land on same runway.

ben gurion tower 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
ben gurion tower 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In the first such incident in 2008, a Turkish Airlines plane almost collided with an Israir airliner in Ben Gurion International Airport, Friday morning. A preliminary investigation showed that the Israir plane, performing landing practice, was called by the tower to commence procedure, while the Turkish jet was preparing to land on the same strip. Only 1,500 meters separated the two planes before the flight inspector realized the mistake and landed both planes with no harm. An Israeli Airport Authority official said the near-accident was caused by faulty judgment on the side of the tower employee who told the Israir plane to land. According to airport procedure, "when an incident is occurring, the flight inspector responsible is replaced by another flight inspector at the tower," the IAA said. The IAA added that an investigative commission was established to probe the incident. In 2007, several such occurrences brought the IAA to earmarking NIS 550 million to improve flight safety, inviting the United States' Federal Aviation Administration to write a report on flight safety in Ben Gurion Airport. Additionally, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz established a Committee for Safety in Flights, of which the first recommendation was to change the tower's location and raise its height.