JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israel Airports Authority investigation has found bacteria and mold in contaminated jet fuel, which had grounded dozens of planes in Israel.
The Airport Authority checked the fuel in an outside lab. It called on the Paz Oil Company on Monday to explain why its fuel was documented as fine when it actually was contaminated, Haaretz reported. A U.S. Air Force laboratory in Germany refused to test the fuel, saying it did not take on private jobs.
Meanwhile, Israel’s national airline, El Al, has brought back jet fuel from Cyprus on two of its airplanes to fuel its smaller planes to ensure that there is no disruption of short and midrange flights to European cities, according to Yediot Achronot.
Aircraft refueling was halted May 5 at Ben Gurion International Airport when Aviation Assets, which supplies fuel to the airport’s pipeline, discovered contaminants in the fuel. Refueling was stopped as well at regional airports in Eilat and Haifa. Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded.
Officials had noticed two weeks earlier that the fuel filters on Aviation Assets’ trucks were clogging. Clogging of airplane fuel filters “could be disastrous,” an airport official told reporters May 5.
Domestic air travel in Israel resumed Sunday. International aircraft continue to fill up in Cyprus on the way to or from Israeli pending a conclusive identification of the contaminant.
The disruption in air travel has cost the economy tens of millions of dollars, according to reports.