Major Air Tragedy Narrowly Avoided at Ben Gurion Airport

An El Al flight takes off from Ben Gurion International Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

B’chasdei Shamayim, a major air tragedy was avoided when an observant control tower worker at Ben Gurion Airport intervened after a plane attempted to take off without authorization – directly in the path of an incoming flight.

The incident occurred at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, airport officials said Wednesday. An Airbus 320 Easyjet plane bound for Nice, France, began rolling down the runway, without having received authorization to do so. The Easyjet plane was taking off when the control tower official realized that a private plane, coming in from Austria, was set to land on a runway that would cross the flight path of the Easyjet plane. The official immediately ordered the private plane to divert course and the Easyjet plane to halt, ensuring that each could land or take off without danger.

It’s not clear why the Easyjet pilot attempted the takeoff without authorization. Airport officials said that an investigation into the incident would be conducted.

Last January, a major air tragedy was avoided when a Fedex plane veered off course to avoid hitting a U.N. plane that was attempting to land off the coast of Tel Aviv. The U.N. plane took off from Sdeh Dov Airport in Tel Aviv, also without authorization, as the Fedex plane approached. The Fedex pilot was forced to undertake the maneuvers to avoid hitting the U.N. plane.

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