Not a Good Week For El Al: Emergency Landings, Disrupted Operations and Delays

This is a Boeing 757-258 aircraft operated by El Al Israel Airlines Limited. Photograph by FlyerTalk member spellofiron. Click on the photograph to see more pictures of airplanes by spellofiron and other FlyerTalk members.

Several incidents have contributed to what has been a week of mishaps for El Al Israel Airlines Limited — including oxygen masks which unexpectedly deployed and delayed a flight; a cracked windshield which caused pilots to return the airplane to its origination airport; an aircraft door damaged by children which delayed a flight; and a pilot who collapsed on the controls in the cockpit during a flight which resulted in an emergency diversion.

Let’s get started:

Oxygen masks were unexpectedly deployed this morning aboard an airplane operated by UP — which is a subsidiary of El Al — while it was still on the ground. Passengers were transferred to different aircraft and flew to their destination of Berlin approximately three hours later.

A cracked windshield was reported by a passenger aboard a Boeing 737-800 aircraft which operated as El Al flight 333 from Tel Aviv to Brussels. The aircraft — which was flying over Turkey at the time — returned to Tel Aviv and safely landed approximately 90 minutes later. FlyerTalk member ELAL was supposedly told by a fellow passenger that a bird strike was the cause of the cracked windshield, although there have been no official reports to confirm that claim.

Unruly children reportedly damaged the door of an airplane as a result of playing with it, ultimately delaying a flight from New York to Tel Aviv by approximately four hours this past Thursday, May 15, 2014.

A pilot reportedly collapsed on the controls in the cockpit of an aircraft on its way to Venice on May 15, 2014, which resulted in an emergency diversion to the international airport in Dubrovnik. After being given first aid aboard the aircraft, the first officer was taken to the hospital; and while the cause is still unknown at this time, it is thought that fatigue was a contributing factor in this incident.

Although the following happened earlier in the month rather than in the past week, flight schedules on May 8, 2014 were disrupted by pilots who protested the deadlock in negotiations pertaining to a new agreement, causing FlyerTalk member LY777 to wonder why several flights from Tel Aviv to Paris were cancelled. “This situation has been going on for years”, explained FlyerTalk member ELY001. “The management and owners basically want more perks and salary concessions from the pilots in order to bolster the financial bottom like (pilots are the highest paid front line employees), while the pilots argue that if they have to make concessions in pay and benefits management should as well. I tend to agree with the pilots. It makes absolutely no sense for pilots, and other employees, to make concessions while management remains bloated and overpaid. Bringing EL AL to profitability should be a team effort, instead everyone is entrenched in their corners while the company continues its decline.”

Let us hope that the upcoming week is a much better one for El Al Israel Airlines Limited. L’chaim.

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