Israel to ban jumbo jets from Ben Gurion Airport to reduce noise and pollution

The Israel Airports Authority said it will aim to reduce noise and air pollution at Ben-Gurion Airport by banning four-engine civilian aircraft, including Boeing 747s and other large aircraft, from next year.

The move, announced Thursday, is unlikely to affect major jetliners serving Israel’s main international airport, most of which have already phased out four-engine behemoths in favor of twin-engine planes, but could impact major cargo carriers that continue to use planes for mail and other cargo.

The IAA said it had started notifying carriers of the reform, which is expected to come into effect at the end of March 2023, to enable them to prepare.

IAA CEO Hagai Topolansky says the ban is “the first step in a broader plan currently being worked on” as Israel aims to modernize its airports while meeting demand increased and environmental challenges.

“I have instructed the competent entities of the authority to start carrying out actions aimed at reducing the magnitude of noise at the airport in order to reduce environmental threats and calm the situation of the surrounding towns affected by the activity. at Ben Gurion Airport,” said , a retired Israel Defense Forces general who took office in June.

The announcement noted that exceptions to the policy will be allowed, such as the arrival of a US president to Israel in an aircraft designated by Air Force One – currently a four-engine Boeing 747-200.

Air Force One, carrying US President Joe Biden, lands at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, July 13, 2022 (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Most airlines have gradually moved to twin-engine aircraft in recent years as engine technology has improved, allowing twin-engine aircraft to show better performance at lower cost.

Flag carrier El Al flew its last jumbo jet, a 747-400, in 2019. Delta, which at one time flew a 747-400 to Israel, retired the plane in 2018.

While a few airlines that serve Tel Aviv continue to use the Airbus A340 and A380 – the world’s largest passenger jet – none use them for flights to Israel.

However, a number of cargo carriers, including Israel-based CAL Cargo Airlines, continue to use 747s to ship cargo to and from Israel.

A Lufthansa Airbus A380 lands in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (AP/Michael Probst)

This is the second dramatic announcement to come out of the IAA in two weeks.

Last month, the authority said Topolansky had allocated more than 50 million shekels (over $15 million) for a digital transformation at Ben Gurion Airport that will see waiting times drastically reduced by bypassing procedures time-consuming.

Under the plan, which is expected to be ready early next year, outbound passengers will be able to weigh their baggage independently and pay for additional weight if needed at new IAA-designated service centers known as Touch Booths. -and-Play.

Passengers will also be able to print baggage tags and send their bags on the plane themselves, making the first lines of check-in at the airport obsolete.

Passengers line up for pre-flight check-in at Ben Gurion airport on September 25, 2020 (Menahem Kahana / AFP)

Ofer Lapler, spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority, said in June that there had been a 340% increase in the number of passengers and flights at Ben Gurion Airport since March and that the he airport was facing a shortage of 1,400 workers, reflecting overcrowding and shortages at airports around the world.

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

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