Published On: Tue, May 26th, 2015

Israir: Engine fails in flight to Eilat; company jet held in Lisbon over outstanding debt

Third Israeli aircraft to experience technical issues in the last month; The Supreme Court in Portugal ruled in December that Israir must pay $2 million damages to EuroAtlantic

Israir - Airbus A320-232 - Tel Aviv Ben Gurion - 4X-ABG

The Engine Fails

Monday afternoon an Israir flight to Eilat with 80 passengers on board made an emergency landing at Ben Gurion International Airport after experiencing technical issues during takeoff from Sde Dov, a small airport north of Tel Aviv.

One of the passengers, Sharon, told Ynet, “The captain informed us that one engine was dead and the second motor was working normally and that we were preparing for an emergency landing at Ben Gurion Airport. The plane started turning and going in circles over the sea while the stewardesses started emergency protocols, explaining to us what to do in these kinds of landings and how to sit and bend over in the plane.”

The incident was the second such technical emergency in under a week. On Thursday, another Israir flight took off from Eilat with a motor problem and made a safe emergency landing.

Ynet added that an El Al flight arriving at Ben Gurion airport experienced similar circumstances in April, but again, the landing was successful and all 174 passengers were accounted for.

Impounded in Lisbon

An Israir plane was impounded in Lisbon Monday over an alleged debt of millions of euros owed by the company to Portuguese carrier EuroAtlantic, according to a report on Ynet.

A Portuguese news report said that all Israeli passengers of the airline were stranded in Lisbon after their return flight to Tel Aviv was canceled. The plane landed in Lisbon at 10:30 a.m. Monday and was set to return to Israel the same day. Reports indicated the plane was an A320 aircraft.

“It’s a story that started almost eight years ago, when we leased a plane from EuroAtlantic for flights to the United States, ” Uri Sirkis, CEO of Israir told Ynet. “After a month we returned the plane to the company for various reasons.”

“The legal procedure is ongoing and therefore we were very surprised that Euroatlantic decided to take such a drastic step and detain the plane, ” he said.

EuroAtlantic president Tomaz Metello said that he took the matter to court and appealed its way to the Portuguese Supreme Court, which ruled in December that Israir must pay damages to the tune of $2 million.“Despite the ruling, they didn’t pay, and therefore we impounded the plane.”

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