B-G Airport says fuel safe, no flights delayed

Water levels in fuel had exceeded state limit, fuel-oversight company says; Airport Authority says no delays on long-haul flights.

Ben Gurion airport 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ben Gurion airport 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ben-Gurion Airport’s jet fuel supply was deemed safe for usage on Sunday, allaying earlier fears that a fuel dilution problem may lead to canceled flights, Israel Radio reported.
Airport authorities were scheduled to check the fuel supply again on Monday as a cautionary measure.
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Despite the announcement, some foreign airlines chose to fill their airplanes with enough fuel at outside airports to avoid using fuel at Ben-Gurion, according to the Israel Radio report.
On Sunday morning, fears of a fuel crisis followed Saturday night’s discovery of a water problem in jet fuel at the airport.
According to tests conducted by Paz Nachsei Teufah, the company responsible for maintaining the quality of airport fuel at Ben- Gurion, water levels in the fuel exceeded the state limit. It appeared that water might have seeped into the fuel tanks, which apparently does not contaminate the fuel, but does dilute it.
As a result, the airport cautioned travelers that it may have to alter or cancel long-distance flights scheduled for Sunday evening.
According to Israeli media, the Airports Authority was not expected to cancel flights as of Sunday morning. At the same time, an emergency fuel tanker was stationed at the airport to provide additional fuel.
The Airports Authority informed foreign airports of the potential for delay Sunday afternoon, according to Israel Radio.
Other airports in the country, including Sde Dov in north Tel Aviv and Ovdat Airport in Eilat, were not expected to experience delays, according to Israeli media.
The current fuel crisis occurred six months after a similar debacle grounded and delayed dozens of flights over fuel contamination in May.
That contamination occurred because the electronic filters used to clean the fuel had not been changed for a decade, a commission tasked by the National Infrastructure Ministry reported.
According to the report, the filters became so clogged that they collapsed as the fuel passed through.
The commission also said that a report on the dirty filters was written as early as February, but had not been passed along to the proper authorities.
Globes contributed to this report.