For SkyWatch Friday
Last Monday night and Tuesday morning we had no fog in the Jerusalem Hills, but 45 minutes west of here Ben-Gurion International Airport was totally covered with fog.
So thick it was that the airport was closed to landings and take-offs for 8 hours, something unheard of in Israel.
.Apparently the fog could occur intermittently but instead of joining queues over Israel, the pilots chose to land safely in Cyprus, Jordan, and Egypt and wait until they could guarantee a landing at Ben-Gurion.
Thank God for nice neighbors..
But why is our "alternative airport" in the neighbor countries and not in Israel itself, we started wondering.Ovda Airport near Eilat used to serve that purpose but it is owned by the military.
.And as Transportation Minister Katz said yesterday,
“Most countries have an air force; in Israel the air force has a country. The main problem is that even when the government decides that an alternative airport is necessary, the air force expresses reservations and things don’t go ahead."
Haaretz has a very telling interview with El Al Airlines chief pilot in which he explains the sorry situation, and why Ben-Gurion can't use its ILS instrument landing system, and why fog can shut down the country.