El Al flight to New York delayed by birds in the cargo bay

Plane takes off an hour later and lands late at JFK; airports authority warns of flight delays to UK due to technical issues at British air traffic control

Illustrative: An El Al flight takes off at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv, October 25, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Illustrative: An El Al flight takes off at Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv, October 25, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

An El Al flight from Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv to JFK in New York was delayed for more than an hour on Monday after birds flew into the cargo bay while baggage was being loaded.

The flight eventually departed after the birds were removed, and made a delayed landing at JFK.

Earlier Monday, the Israel Airports Authority warned of disruptions to flights departing to the United Kingdom, due to technical issues experienced by British air traffic control services.

Earlier this month, travelers experienced flight delays and long waits for their bags at Ben Gurion Airport, apparently due to a shortage of staff and too many flights at the height of the summer travel season, causing chaos at the main terminal.

Israeli authorities have also attributed extended delays for arriving non-Israeli travelers at passport control to a staffing shortage.

The disruptions come during peak travel season. According to the Israel Airport Authorities (IAA), Ben Gurion Airport is expected to break passenger records this month, with 2.8 million travelers predicted to pass through the facility by the end of August, with an average of 600 flights a day.

The previous record was set in March, when 1,983,428 passengers passed through the airport. The IAA expects some 25 million passengers to use the terminals by the end of the year.

Over a decade ago, in 2011, Israel identified an urgent need for another international airport that would relieve some of the congestion at Ben Gurion Airport but has struggled to implement the decision.

According to Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority, Ben Gurion Airport will reach its maximum capacity of 40 million passengers and 250,000 flights annually by 2029.

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