Flights resume at Ben Gurion after fuel contamination

Terrorism ruled out as cause; six flights manage to get fans to Maccabi Final Four game in Spain.

Ben Gurion airport 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ben Gurion airport 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Authorities are still waiting for lab results on fuel samples sent to Germany on Thursday night to determine the cause of contamination in the airport’s jet fuel supply.
Though flights resumed a little over 12 hours after being grounded at Ben- Gurion Airport – after contamination was discovered in the airport’s jet fuel supply – airport officials said the cause of the contamination is still unknown. Terrorism has been ruled out as a cause, they said.
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Adar Avisar, spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority, said Saturday that airlines are filling up in Europe or in Larnaka, Cyprus on the way to Israel and those that arrive in Israel without gas are filling up from tankers and other improvised sources at Ben- Gurion.
On Thursday night around 30 tankers were sent from the Pi Glilot gas depot to the airport, where they filled up stranded planes, all of which were able to depart by 3 a.m.
Approximately 1,500 passengers suffered delays because of the cancellations and most of the Israeli passengers expecting to leave on Thursday night stayed at the terminal, while those expected to take off on Friday returned home.
Following the discovery of the contamination on Thursday, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau (Israel Beiteinu) issued a statement calling for the immediate establishment of a commission of inquiry.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called the incident “a grievous matter” and called on ministry officials to launch an emergency probe into the contamination. He said clearing the stranded flights was an immediate priority and vowed to ensure the necessary fuel would be supplied.
On Friday morning, six flights left Tel Aviv for Barcelona, allowing stranded Maccabi Tel Aviv fans to make it to Spain to watch the basketball team play in the Euroleague’s Final Four which began that night.