El Al Testing Engines After Series of In-flight Malfunctions

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) probing whether malfunctions a coincidence or the result of a product defect, deficient maintenance.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is investigating whether a series of engine malfunctions in El Al Airlines planes is a coincidence or the result of a product defect, deficient maintenance, or something else.

El Al has incurred heavy costs because of the problems. Service at the national airline has been disrupted despite the company's attempt to limit the damages, TheMarker has learned. With El Al's cooperation, the CAA is focusing on malfunctions that were discovered in engines made by Rolls Royce in Boeing 777 wide-body passenger planes.

The first incident involved an engine with cracked turbos. The Marker has learned that the Israeli company spoke with the manufacturer, requesting instructions, and was told that the engines could safely be operated. But during one of its last flights last month one of the engines failed while the plane was in flight. The two-engine craft was forced to make an emergency landing at Heathrow Airport in London with only a single engine.

In a second incident two weeks ago, a malfunction forced the plane to make an emergency landing in Tashkent, Uzbekistan en route from Israel to Hong Kong.

Investigations revealed an oil leak in one of the engine's systems. The plane was grounded until technicians could replace the engine, which was flown out for testing by the manufacturer.

El Al was forced to provide hotel accommodations for the passengers until a replacement plane was available to take the passengers to Hong Kong, and back to Israel.

"El Al and the CAA are taking coordinated steps to investigate the incidents. In both incidents the malfunctions were discovered during flight, and with no warning," El Al said in a statement. "The company immediately contacted Rolls Royce, which is investigating the incidents in cooperation with El Al. El Al makes no compromises on matters of safety, and will handle each incident with the gravity which it warrants."