Israir Airlines Flight 734 from Wasaw to Tel Aviv performed an emergency landing in Solovakia Monday after the crew discovered a possible fault in the plane's air compression system. The flight was carrying approximately 100 Israeli passengers.
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The flight crew, a combination of Israir and Czech airline Travel Service, noticed the problem once in the air and took the decision to land the leased plane at Kosice airport. The flight was operated by SmartWings, a low-cost brand of Czech airline company Travel Service.
Passengers describe being asked to use the plane's oxygen masks for approximately 15 minutes while the plane reduced its altitude and changed its flight course.
"For some time it was unclear what was going on," one of the passengers said. "If we knew that we were paying for an Israir flight, but receiving a foreign company's rickety plane, we would have thought twice about boarding the flight."
The phenomenon of leasing planes is growing among Israeli airlines that are using foreign aircraft and crews in order to meet growing demand and compete with foreign airlines.