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Flights resume from Israel’s airports, but fuel crisis continues

JTA

May 6, 2011 | 11:32 am

Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport resumed flights Friday after jet fuel contamination halted all outgoing flights Thursday afternoon.

Friday morning, the airport was permitted to tap into emergency jet fuel supplies to enable grounded planes to fly to refueling stations in Cyprus or Jordan, Ha’aretz reported.

But that’s only a temporary solution, the airport’s chief official told reporters.

“The end to the crisis is not yet known,” Ben Gurion Airport manager Shmuel Kandel said Friday.

Early reports that the contamination might be due to sabotage or terrorism have been discounted. Samples of the tainted fuel have been sent to Germany for testing.

Aircraft refueling was halted Thursday at Ben Gurion when Aviation Assets, which supplies fuel to the airport’s pipeline, discovered contaminants in the fuel. Refueling was also stopped at the airports in Eilat and Haifa. Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded.

Two weeks ago, officials noticed that the fuel filters on the company’s trucks were clogging. Clogging of airplane fuel filters “could be disastrous,” an airport official told reporters Thursday.

The Israeli media is reporting concerns that the contamination may be more widespread in the country’s fuel supply.

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