The decision to suspend all flights at Ben Gurion International Airport as soon as jet fuel contamination was suspected was the right thing to do, an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) mission visiting Israel ruled.
According to a Thursday report in Yedioth Ahronoth, the mission – which is comprised of aviation and fuel experts – visited Paz Aviation Assets facilities from which jet fuel is delivered to the Ben Gurion Airport fueling terminal, and met with Paz executives, Ben Gurion Airport Director Shmuel Kandel and various Israel Aviation Authority officials.
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In early May, a contaminating agent detected in BG Airport's fuel supply promoted the suspension of all outgoing flights from Israel's main gateway, and eventually from its smaller airports as well.
Israel's air traffic plunged into chaos for two days due to the crisis, with airlines estimating damages in millions of dollars.
The ICAO draft report concluded that Paz was responsible for the contamination, and lauded local authorities' comprehensive, real-time precautionary measures, which included suspending all outgoing flights, pumping the tanks of grounded planes and instructing all incoming planes to ensure their own fuel reserves.
The International Civil Aviation Organization inquiry joins those set up by the Transportation and National Infrastructure ministries. The Transportation Ministry's investigation focuses on airport emergency contingencies, while the Infrastructure Ministry's probe aims to find the nature and source of the contaminating agent – which remain, at this time, a mystery.
An Infrastructure Ministry statement said that the panel probing the matter "has submitted its interim report in June and it pursuing an in-depth examination of the matter for its final report, set to be submitted by the end of August."
Ministry officials were baffled by the ICAO conclusions, saying they were derived after only a two-day inspection.
A Paz statement said: "We have yet to receive the ICAO's final report and as far as we know, there are no conclusive findings as to the cause of the airport incident at this time."
Amir Ben-David contributed to this report
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