Passengers Held for 13 Hours on El Al Plane in -40 Temps 

The first plane on the frozen tarmac in Goose bay, hours after its emergency landing. (Tom Podolec)

El Al sent a replacement plane to replace the aircraft which was forced to carry out an emergency landing in Canada after a defect with the wheels was identified Sunday morning.

El-Al flight 008 took off from JFK Airport in New York on a non-stop flight to Israel Sunday morning. The plane made an emergency landing at the Canadian Air Force Base in Goose Bay at 5:55 am EST after the malfunction was detected. The plane landed five hours after it had taken off from JFK at 12:41 am. Passengers also reported hearing strange noises from the engines.

The passengers were forced to remain on the aircraft for 13 hours as the outside temperature was a dangerous negative twenty degrees Fahrenheit. The expected high temperature in Goose Bay on Sunday was negative nine degrees.

One of the passengers that was stranded was Deputy Israeli Education Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism).

El Al announced that it was sending a replacement plane from New York to Goose Bay to pick up the passengers and complete their flight to Israel.

“El Al personnel are working to take care of the problem and take care of the passengers,” the company said.

The plane finally arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday morning.

According to a Times of Israel report the plane carrying some 400 passengers touched down at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv shortly before 10 a.m. Israel time, over 26 hours after it left John F. Kennedy Airport.

“We’ve been here about six and a half hours,” Chen Harel, one of the passengers told Hadashot news on Sunday. “Every minute that passes is harder and harder for us, and we hope it will end quickly — there are adults and children here.”

Back in November of 2016, Arutz Sheva reported that hundreds of El Al passengers were stranded in Israel after their pilots failed to show up and the flight was canceled.

The pilots’ absence was apparently connected to a disagreement over how much they should be paid on their return flights to Israel, during which they fly as passengers in business class.

In a post on their Facebook page at the time, El Al wrote, “As a result of the pilots’ sanctions and their insistence on flying one way only, tonight’s flight 027 to Newark has been canceled, as well as tomorrow’s return flight to Tel Aviv. The company will refund all of the passengers’ tickets.

“The pilots’ sanctions have been hurting the company for several months already. The sanctions are expressed in the fact that the pilots refuse to answer to anyone, and in their refusal to fly back and forth as active pilots, instead insisting on flying one way only.

“We apologize for the inconvenience to our passengers, but we have no choice but to return order to our company’s activities,” the post concluded.

The pilots’ committee insisted that El Al was not telling the truth.

By: Gary Willig

 

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