Int'l Team to Probe Tainted Jet Fuel

The crisis in confidence over aviation fuel at Ben-Gurion International Airport continues, 10 days after contamination was discovered in the fuel supply. During the weekend a delegation of the International Air Transport Association (IATA ) arrived in Israel discreetly in order to learn first-hand about developments.

The Israel Airports Authority issued a special international announcement, a Notam - Notice to Airmen - close to midnight Wednesday, to all airlines, announcing that the aviation fuel at the airport was up to standards.

Ben-Gurion Airport
Ofer Vaknin

Meanwhile an Israel Air Force laboratory has stopped carrying out detailed examinations for every aircraft that was fueled and took off from the airport. According to the Airports Authority announcement, the supplier of the aviation fuel would continue to carry out checks of the fuel supply, which is common practice.

The new Airports Authority announcement follows Wednesday's meeting between the chairman of its board, Ovadia Eli, the CEO of the authority, Kobi Mor, and representatives of foreign and local airlines. Despite the new international announcement, foreign airlines continued to carry fuel on their aircraft from their original destinations, so that they could depart Israel without refueling at Ben-Gurion Airport.

Meanwhile, at midday Friday, flammable material spilled onto the fuselage of a Turkish Airlines aircraft at the airport. Firefighters arrived to deal with the incident, and no one was injured.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing, even though there is no suspicion of negligence. The material, which is used for making ice cream and is considered highly flammable, spilled while cargo was being unloaded from the aircraft's cargo bay. It is possible that the container was insufficiently sealed or was unloaded without the necessary precautions.

Earlier this year an EL AL Boeing 777 was damaged while on the ground when a vehicle hit its fuselage. The aircraft, which was due to depart for London, was replaced. There were no injuries.