The Israel Airports Authority has officially declared the jet-fuel emergency at Ben-Gurion International Airport over − but not everyone is convinced. The IAA released a notice to all airlines near midnight Wednesday, telling them that the fuel at the airport was clean and uncontaminated.
Meanwhile, the Israel Air Force’s labs have stopped their testing of fuel and planes refueled at Ben-Gurion; they have returned to their routine testing regime of taking representative samples only. The IAA said the supplier of the jet fuel, Paz Oil subsidiary Aviation Assets, would continue its regular testing of the fuel.
The announcement came after a meeting Wednesday evening between Israeli airline executives, senior IAA officials − Chairman Ovadia Eli and Director General Kobi Mor − and representatives of foreign airlines operating in Israel.
Despite the IAA’s announcement, foreign airlines are continuing to fill their tanks in Europe with enough fuel for the round-trip journey, without having to fill up at Ben-Gurion.
Managers of foreign airlines harshly criticized the IAA yesterday, calling the authority’s announcement “problematic.” “The IAA’s midnight announcement was short, three sentences in all,” an airline official complained to TheMarker.
The authority’s NOTAM, or Notice to Airmen, said only that the airport’s refueling procedures had returned to normal and that the fuel met international and local aviation standards. It said this was based on the fuel supplier’s declarations.
The foreign airlines said this information was inadequate to prove that the fuel meets all required standards.
The announcement did not include details or data on the fuel’s quality, said the airline officials. They were particularly worried about the IAA’s statement that its announcement was based on a declaration by the fuel supplier.
One airline executive said it seems the IAA is trying to pass the blame on. He said that as far as the airlines were concerned, the IAA is responsible: It published the tenders for the airport’s exclusive fuel supplier, and it is the government authority in charge.
European airlines will continue to bring in their own fuel until they receive information proving that the fuel is safe to use, said one airline manager.
The IAA said its notice was customary for the aviation industry and that it objects to accusations that it is trying to shift the blame onto someone else. The tests were conducted not by the supplier or the air force but by a certified laboratory, it said.
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