El Al Flight to Tel Aviv Diverted to Athens for Shomrei Shabbos Passengers

YERUSHALAYIM/NEW YORK -
An El Al airline plane taking off at the Ben Gurion International Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

El Al flight 002 to Tel Aviv, which left New York’s JFK airport on Thursday night, was delayed due to snow on the runway. Although it could theoretically could have landed about a half-hour before shekiah, it was diverted to Athens, landing amply in time for Shabbos.

El Al said that in accordance with company policy, there are no passenger flights on Shabbos, and that the shomrei Shabbos passengers would be flown to Israel on the first flight Motzoei Shabbos.

Flight 008 also left late from New York. As it would have landed in Tel Aviv long after the onset of Shabbos, the plane was initially to be diverted to Rome, where it would have landed 90 minutes before Shabbos. However, a passenger became ill onboard, and El Al, upon consultation with rabbinic authorities, decided to continue on to Israel, as it was a matter of pikuach nefesh.