On the same day that Haaretz revealed that two planes nearly collided at Ben-Gurion Airport due to a technical malfunction in one of the landing instruments on a runway, Channel 2 reported the details of another near-disaster, this one involving two planes that nearly collided on a runway.
According to the report, an aircraft operated by Uzbekistan Air landed on a runway on which an El Al flight to New York was preparing to take off. An air traffic controller became aware of the situation and instructed the Uzbekistan Air plane to remain airborne and redo its landing approach, thus averting a certain catastrophe.
An initial investigation into the incident found that the El Al pilots erred.
The near-mishap follows another incident that took place early Wednesday morning of the week before last, when visibility at the airport was poor.
The malfunction occurred in the instrument landing system (ILS) on Runway 26, which serves airplanes flying from northeast to southwest. The ILS provides guidance to airplanes landing in difficult weather conditions, such as low cloud ceilings or fog, that prevent pilots from actually seeing the ground until seconds before landing. In such cases, the landing is carried out by the plane's automatic systems, which coordinate the process using data provided by the ILS.
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