Amid Passover exodus, rogue radio waves scramble airport
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Amid Passover exodus, rogue radio waves scramble airport

Officials delay flights over fear that transmissions from Ramallah could mess with communications between planes and tower

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Passengers wait at Ben Gurion airport (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Passengers wait at Ben Gurion airport (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Radio transmissions Thursday from the West Bank city of Ramallah rattled controllers at Ben-Gurion Airport, causing minor delays on one of the busiest days of the year of Israel’s main air terminus.

Airport officials added extra time between flights taking off and landing as a precautionary move, after the Communications Ministry said broadcasts from Ramallah could interfere with transmissions between pilots and the control tower.

The delays rippled through the packed flight schedule, delaying several takeoffs and landings for a number of hours Thursday morning, ahead of the busy Passover travel season.

By Thursday afternoon, the transmissions had ceased and the airport returned to normal operation.

With the Passover festival set to start on Friday evening, some 70,000 passengers were expected to pass through the airport on Thursday.

The Israel Airports Authority said that during the course of the holiday season 1.1 million people would go through Ben-Gurion airport, a 14% increase compared to last year.

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