Update: Commenter LY546traveler shares the following:
“I’ve been on that LY546 flight from ATH-TLV. We were really about to land with all the lights off and the flight attendants in their seats when from the right side of the plane you could see a missile coming and out of the darkness of the night 2 missiles rose from the ground to intercept the oncoming missile!
It felt pretty close but not as if we could reach it – but it was relatively right near us!
It was enough close that some older children started crying, adults shrieking, etc.
At the same time, the plane felt as if we were taking off once again as we steeply climbed the sky above Tel Aviv we altered directions, the lights were turned on, and were told that due to sirens we were directed away from the airport and will be making some circles – and that we shouldn’t worry as we have enough fuel (as if that was our worry).
It probably was our flight but with the angle at which the video was taken, it looks very different from the air.
(Someone on the plane received a video of a plane flying near the iron dome at work and said that it was our plane)
After landing everyone started singing Am Yisrael chai…
I didn’t manage to get anything (on video) as we didn’t even hear a siren to warn us – it was basically over before we really understood what was happening…
There might have been others that were filming at that time by chance.”
Originally posted on 10/27:
Most foreign airlines have suspended their flying into Israel. The primary reason is that while the Israeli government insures the planes of Arkia, El Al, and Israir during war time, most other airlines do not have that insurance coverage and can’t fly into active war zones. But of course there are also safety concerns and crew that don’t want to fly in a war zone.
Here is crazy footage of a plane on approach into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport:
There was some speculation online of this possibly being El Al flight 546 from Athens landing in Tel Aviv, which had to climb back out on approach to Tel Aviv due to multiple missile interceptions and then circle for half an hour before landing safely:
EL AL flight LY546 had to climb back out on approach to Tel Aviv tonight due to multiple missile interceptions occurring at the same time, flight held for a while before landing safely @RadarBoxCom
— Flight Emergency (@FlightEmergency) October 26, 2023
That flight was operated by a Boeing 737. El Al’s 737s and 777s are equipped with SkyShield that helps protect the plane against missiles, though the video doesn’t appear to show the plane deploying any counter-missile measures.
I reached out to El Al and spoke with Captain Hovav Ben David, the airline’s Vice President of operations and 737 chief pilot.
He said that he was unable to confirm that the plane in the video was an El Al plane. He also cautioned that it’s extremely difficult to gauge distances at night due to how the plane and missiles are illuminated in the dark sky.
However, he noted that the captain of flight 546 did not report anything unusual and neither did any other El Al flights, so either it was not their flight, or it was not a close situation. The airport also didn’t report any danger to any flight operations and holding patterns are very common due to the war.
The captain also said that the airline works very closely with the IDF and receives real-time alerts of any safety issues and always has a heads-up when there is missile activity in the area.
It’s worth noting that while in 2021 some flights were diverted to Eilat/Ramon airport due to Hamas missiles, that hasn’t happened yet during this war.
This iron dome footage was taken from Ben Gurion Airport in 2021:
The Wall Street Journal also has a very interesting video of how Ben Gurion stays open during wartime:
What’s your take on the video?