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Bomb Menace Causes EL AL 787 Fighter Jet Escort

The Aviation Herald has the history of a rather alarming transatlantic EL AL flight.

EL AL flight accompanied by various fighter jets

This incident concerns an EL AL flight on April 29 from New York to Tel Aviv. Flight LY2 was operated by a Boeing 787-9 with the registration code 4X-EDH, an aircraft about two years old that was delivered to the airline in October 2018.

During the flight over Spain, the EL AL pilots informed air traffic control that they suspected that a bomb had been planted on the aircraft. As a result, NATO made the decision to dispatch fighter jets that intercepted and escorted the aircraft. Fighter jets from four different countries took part:

  • Spanish warplanes escorted the plane from Spain to Italy
  • Then Italian warplanes escorted the plane from Italy to Greece
  • Then Greek fighter planes escorted the plane through Greek airspace
  • When the plane entered the airspace of Cyprus, Israeli warplanes escorted the plane back to Israel

Fortunately, the plane landed safely in Tel Aviv about four hours after the original call to air traffic control about a bomb and just under ten hours after it took off from New York. The plane has not flown since then.

The flight path for the EL AL flight on which this incident occurred

I have a few questions…

It goes without saying that there are many more questions than answers here. A couple of things come to mind:

  • If you are concerned that there is a bomb on board, why should you keep flying for several hours instead of landing? Are there any concerns that the pressure will be activated or something, and if so, what other precautions were taken when the plane finally landed in Israel?
  • What exactly should the fighter jets do, especially since it’s more of an alleged bomb than a hijack or something?
  • Were the passengers made aware of what was going on? That must be a nasty thing to know about …
  • What was actually the source of the bomb concern?

I am curious to see if we will get answers to these questions in the near future or if not much will be published about it as Israel is quite nervous about security in general. If anyone has any insight, I’d love to learn!

An EL AL 787 had a rather eventful flight from New York to Tel Aviv

Bottom line

An EL AL Boeing 787 flying from New York to Tel Aviv had a rather eventful flight. The crew had reason to believe that a bomb was on board. The aircraft continued to land at its destination, but was accompanied by four different fighter jets.

Fortunately, the plane landed safely and on time. What a strange incident …