Emergency briefly declared at Ben Gurion Airport during brake mishap; first test flight planned for Sunday
By TOI STAFF 31 October 2019, 5:10 pm
An Israeli version of Air Force One, the codename for a plane carrying the US president, was revealed on Thursday for the first time, but a test run at Ben Gurion Airport ahead of its first takeoff — which is planned for Sunday — was overshadowed by a brake malfunction that caused officials to briefly declare an emergency alert.
The Boeing 767-300ER aircraft will be used by the prime minister and the president for official visits abroad.
Photos of it were published for the first time on Thursday by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which reworked the former passenger plane over the last two years for its new purpose.
The company said it had developed and installed “sophisticated technological systems” that enable secure communications and ensure its safety. According to IAI, the plane can reach the United States, China, Japan and even Brazil without stopovers.
But on Thursday, as the plane left its hangar for one of a series of engine tests, the brakes overheated and created fears of a fire that could have caused significant damage. An emergency was declared and firefighting teams were sent in before the emergency situation was declared over.
The government has so far approved NIS 729 million ($206 million) for the purchasing and remodeling of the plane, which had previously served for 20 years as a passenger plane for an Australian airline.