The fuel contamination that grounded many international and domestic flights in Israel last week exposed a characteristic of aviation – one single problem can create chaos. It was the ash cloud in Europe last year; it was fuel contamination last week in Israel on a smaller scale.
This fact will apparently not be changed, but as if according to a fixed script the parties involved don’t waste time before they begin to blame each other for the fiasco. That happened in Europe after the volcanic dust settled, and it happened in Israel even before the results from the laboratories about the nature of the greasy substance were definite.
The airlines accused the authorities, the authorities accused the company that has the concession to supply the jet fuel, the ministry of transport looked for someone to accuse and the ministry of infrastructure and natural resources did not know who to accuse. Confused? All involved are. The source of the contamination is not clear yet but this is only one problem.
Israeli aviation sources say that especially in a country with such high sensitivity to emergencies, the situation is unacceptable. They claim that relying on one source of jet fuel is “not logical” and that the control of the supplier or suppliers should be more tight than today.
The relevant ministries are still “studying the facts” but these are not clear yet. What is clear is that some 70 international flights were delayed for long hours. When refueling trucks brought clean oil to the airport, they distributed it evenly between the grounded aircraft to allow them to fly to a near destination where their tanks were filled.
The scale of the damage the oil contamination in Israel last week was minor compared to this of the ash cloud in Europe last year. But except for the scale all the elements are almost identical. Aviation has a typical chaos script.