Officials report that the American Federal Aviation Administration following an inspection in Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport plan to recommend lowering the international airport’s rating due to significant safety deficiencies.
This would place Israeli flights on a monitored list, which translates to limiting the airlines to current flights, eliminating any opportunity to add flight routes or make changes. Such a reality will have significant economic realities on airlines.
One must bear in mind that the shortcomings in the airport are not just according to the FAA, but the Israeli internal investigation headed by retired air force commander Amos Lapidot in 2007 stated the airport’s safety realities was “catastrophic”.
The ranking, if downgraded, would place Israel on in the same ranking with countries like Honduras, Indonesia, Ukraine, Haiti and Bulgaria.
In essence, the downgraded ranking is in line with the Lapidot Committee, and unfortunately, little if nothing has been done to improve the situation since the 2007 report. Prior to the inspection, Israel’s ranking was one, but it may now be downgraded to two.
The move may also result in delays as additional inspections of El Al flights may be conducted in the United States.
YWN has reported on mid-air near-misses involving flights in Ben-Gurion and the FAA report states among other things that the control tower is situated in such a way that air traffic controllers do not have a view of all runways.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)