View Full Version : Suspected bomb on board El Al 787 30 April 2021

2nd May 2021, 16:48
From AV Herald

An El Al Boeing 787-9, registration 4X-EDH performing flight LY-2 from New York JFK,NY (USA) to Tel Aviv (Israel), was enroute over Spain when the crew advised ATC they suspected a bomb had been planted on the aircraft. Fighter aircraft were dispatched that escorted the aircraft into Italy, where Italian fighter aircraft took over and escorted the aircraft into Greece, where Greek fighter aircraft escorted the aircraft through Greek airspace. When the aircraft entered Cyprus airspace, Israeli fighter aircraft took over and escorted the aircraft to a safe landing in Tel Aviv about 4 hours after the first alert.

Greek Media reported the crew suspected while flying over Spain, that a bomb had been planted on the aircraft. NATO decided to dispatch fighter aircraft which intercepted and escorted the Boeing, at the Spanish-Italien boundary of the airspace Italian fighter aircraft took over until the Boeing entered Greek airspace, where Greek fighter aircraft escorted the Boeing to Cyprus airspace. Israeli fighter aircraft awaited the aircraft in Cyprus airspace and escorted the aircraft to landing in Tel Aviv.

The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Tel Aviv about 14.5 hours after landing.

The airline and Israel's CAA have not yet commented.

Anybody knows what a reason can be for continuing the flight for all those hours with a suspected bomb on board?
Except for standard procedure maybe, any practical reason why fighters need to fly along it for all those hours? Not really much they can do...

Less Hair
2nd May 2021, 17:05
It is not advisable to discuss tactical details isn't it?

2nd May 2021, 17:10
Less Hair is absolutely right, we should not discuss tactics here

2nd May 2021, 17:38
Neither do I.

Is it allowed to discuss meaningless and wild speculations that are purposefully incorrect to confuse and mislead the enemy?

2nd May 2021, 17:57
Well I guess I am lacking imagination but I don't see how this is making much sense in a "tactical" point of view. Let's see what transpires in the coming hours / days, if anything.

3rd May 2021, 01:47
Thankfully a false warning apparently:

Bomb Warning (https://www.timesofisrael.com/fighter-jets-said-to-escort-el-al-plane-over-greece-after-false-bomb-warning/)

3rd May 2021, 03:49
This is how NATO waste's energy, six fighters with after burners, crowding the air traffic unnecessarily, a mere show of friendliness to Israel. With a suspected bomb warning, a passenger air liner should land immediately and evacuate, a better flight safety action.

3rd May 2021, 04:23
I am not privy to any "secret tactics," but common sense tells me that even in a bomb-on-board situation, there are quite good reasons for a fighter escort.

1) provide eyeballs on the plane in trouble: suppose the transponder signal (or COM transmission) disappears? Is it an explosion, or an electrical fault, or a reversion to a Plan B (attempted hijacking)? An escorting jet can see whether the plane is still there, or making hand signals, or has too many people in the cockpit. Radar can't.

1a) And, of course, take tragic-but-necessary action if the situation has fallen completely under unfriendly control - or literally out of control altogether.

2) provide asssistance in case of a non-catastrophic explosion (aircraft have survived bombings on occasion): Escorts can - inspect damage/leaks and report to flight crew - provide navigation help in case of instrument/NAV damage - relay messages - report situation in general to ground - request emergency response on landing if civilian crew cannot.

3) As to why fly for 4 additional hours to Tel Aviv? El Al is a special case (they have a - history - of being a prime target). And they have the strictest security on the planet.

Again, I have no clue as to their actual tactical options. But as a neutral observer, I'd imagine that Israel would really, really prefer that if there is even the possibility of a bad-actor on board, that (s)he be de-planed directly into their custody. Without "complications" from the laws, judges, extradition agreements, or politics of the other countries enroute.

3rd May 2021, 07:49
I don't think it is giving much away to put forward that if you *really* thought there was a bomb on board, would you carry on to your final destination while overflying lots of airfields? Just saying...

3rd May 2021, 09:03
There are lots of reasons why you may not want to land in even a “neutral” country let alone a country that is sympathetic to your domestic enemies.
Enough said.

3rd May 2021, 09:13
In reality, there is very little that is secret or confidential that Prooners could give away and which would be of help to a real terrorist. However, there have been more than enough nutters around who, in the past, have manufactured false bomb warnings. My reasons for counselling against discussing bomb threats is to ensure they gain no help from any of us.

ATC Watcher
3rd May 2021, 09:20
It is always amazing to see people jumping to conclusions after a media news report . I do not know who "Channel 12" is and what was their source.
One thing I know first hand is that the procedures for dealing with these issues are done by experts, who know what they are doing by now, and are really not for discussion in an open Internet forum .

3rd May 2021, 11:36
The experts only need to be wrong once

ATC Watcher
3rd May 2021, 13:02
Agree but they have not been so far. In fact the ones we dealt with in my time were very good. And those of the nationality of the aircraft involved here are probably among the best there are in the world .

3rd May 2021, 21:05

Perhaps they did not want anyone, even a “friendly” police force looking around in the cargo compartments...

4th May 2021, 06:04

Such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Greece?

4th May 2021, 12:40
So many assumptions made here on near to zero facts. Rest assured that the situation would have been discussed and evaluated by all parties concerned and that the final decision to continue was made according to all the factual information they had (and which we haven't got). Pre departure security on ELY flights is very intense.

4th May 2021, 16:58
Maybe the found the bomb and used the battery chute to chuck it?:cool:

4th May 2021, 17:20


Though of course the crucial fact - that there was no bomb on board - was not, and could not have been, definitively established until after arrival at TLV.

4th May 2021, 18:09
Sure, maybe! My point is that they had a lot more pertinent details at hand to make a risk assessment with. How was the bomb warning made? The crew quite rightly reported it to ATC. After that it may well have been that further investigation by all (El Al) parties involved concluded that it was highly likely to be a hoax and the decision was made to continue. The bottom line is that we just don't know. I am however convinced that they knew exactly what they were doing.