Israeli Aviation Security Falls Short, Says FAA

By Matthew Harwood

A year after an Israeli civilian committee declared the country's aviation security in a "catastrophic state," the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration "uncovered severe security shortcomings" this week, reports Haaretz.

During a meeting with officials from the Israel Civil Aviation Authority Thursday, the FAA cited a lack of proper supervision from civilian authorities as the major problem affecting flight safety.

Among other findings, the FAA found that Ben-Gurion International Airport suffers from serious flight safety shortcomings and cited Israel's especially crowded airspace as a serious safety concern.

The newspaper says that when the FAA releases its report in 90 days, many fear the fallout will include a drastic reduction in the number of flights from Israel to the United States.

Last year, a civilian committee, created by Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, criticized Israel's aviation infrastructure, saying it has not incorporated the technological advancements of the past few decades. The committee also discovered air traffic controllers do not always communicate in English and fail to use the appropriate terminology. It recommended that oversight of air control systems improve and make air traffic control training more rigorous.

The committee was led by retired Major-General Amos Lapidot, who resigned two months ago, allegedly because his recommendations went unimplemented.

He told Haaretz yesterday, "we've seen there is no supervision, work isn't done according to regulations, and the airports authority in reality does not operate. The FAA saw this as well."


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