Airliners Escape Near Collision in Ben Gurion Airport

Incident comes only 24 hours after a Russian plane nearly landed on the wrong airport strip.

Two airliners were involved in a near collision in Ben Gurion International Airport on Thursday, Israel Airports Authority said Monday, in the second serious air-safety incident in 24 hours.

The IAA reported that a landing Lufthansa passenger passed dangerously close to an El Al jetliner about to take off, adding that the two flight controllers implicated in the episode were both reassigned in its wake.

An initial investigation conducted on the day of the near collision concluded that the alleged proximity between the two airliners "did not indicate a safety incident had occurred."

However, a closer inspection of the incident, which included the inspection of radar recordings as well as recordings of the communication between the pilots and the control tower, revealed that "the proximity between the planes indicated that a safety incident had occurred."

"As a result of the findings of preliminary investigation conducted right after the event, as well as of the findings of the in depth probe conducted later on, it was decided that the controllers on duty during the incident would not continue in their positions," the IAA said.

The incident came only 24 ours after a Russian Transaero plane began landing in the direction of the sea on Tuesday, when the pilot apparently became confused and was directed south by air traffic controllers.

When the plane approached the landing strip a second time, air traffic controllers noticed that the aircraft had again missed the strip; the pilot was redirected for a second time, and then managed to land as planned.