Thousands affected as heavy fog engulfs Ben-Gurion Airport
Flights resume, but delays continue; chief El Al pilot: Scandalous that there's no other Israeli airport for landings.
Take-offs and landings at Ben-Gurion International Airport resumed late Tuesday morning, after an hours-long suspension due to heavy fog. Flight delays, however, are expected to continue until Wednesday.
Thousands of passengers were affected by the poor weather conditions.
The airport was effectively shut to air traffic from midnight until 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, and more than two dozen Israel-bound aircraft were diverted to other airports in the region.
Dror Gorelick, El Al's chief pilot, criticized the chaos caused by the heavy fog and poor visibility.
"It's a scandal that Israel does not have an alternative airport in its territory," Gorelick told Haaretz.
According to Gorelick, El Al asked that the Ovda Airport in the Negev be opened for planes to land at but the request was denied. Ovda had been used until recently as an alternative landing site to Ben-Gurion.
A representative of the airport authorities said that the new airport set to be built at Timna about 20 kilometers north of Eilat could serve as an alternative landing site in the future.
The Timna Airport is still in the planning stages and won't be built for several years.
An El Al flight to Ben-Gurion from Vienna on Tuesday morning landed in Eilat. Another El Al flight from Moscow landed in Lanarca in Cyprus. According to Gorelick, 13 other El Al flights were forced to land in Rhodes, Paphos, Antalya, Cairo and Amman.
Due to the delays, airport authorities are telling passengers to check with their airlines before arriving at the airport.
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