Airliner Security Scares Raise Questions In Israel

There was an interesting event over the weekend when the Israeli Air Force sent two fighter jets to inspect a Delta 767 and escort it into Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv after a communications failure raised fears of a hijacking.

Questions remain about exactly what went wrong. The event could be dismissed as an aberration, except that something similar happened a few days earlier with a Continental 777. In that case, the Jerusalem Post reported that “The Israeli Air Force came very close Wednesday afternoon to intercepting and destroying a civilian airliner …”

Intercepting and destroying. Yikes.

The Delta jet was reportedly operating under a pilot program for a new security system that requires the use of codes to identify planes and ensure they have not been hijacked, but the crew had trouble contacting the tower at Ben-Gurion. Continental was apparently not participating in that program, but the jet had also lost contact with Ben-Gurion’s air traffic controllers.

After Saturday’s incident, the national pilots association expressed its opposition to the new procedures, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports.


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