A Meridiana Airlines S.p.A. plane heading from Milan Malpensa to Tel Aviv Ben-Gurion International Airport on Friday night returned to its origin airport halfway through the flight, after the pilot determined that his staff could not stay overnight at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Ephraim Fortis, CEO of Open Sky, the agency that handles general sales for Meridiana Airlines in Israel, noted that the pilot made the decision to head back to Milan after being informed that the airport was closed between 1 a.m. – 5 a.m. The decision was made while the plane was above Athens.
The pilot had intended to land at Tel Aviv Ben-Gurion International Airport at 1 a.m. and leave again for Milan two hours later, but did not want his team to have to wait until 5 a.m. for departure.
After the return and daylong wait in Milan, Meridiana provided a special plane that landed in Israel on Sunday at 5 a.m.
The policy for dealing with aircraft noise implemented in the Ben Gurion Airport area is designed to express a balance of interest between aviation (national) needs and public (local) needs.
The restriction of nighttime takeoffs, according to a government resolution, remained the dominant factor affecting aircraft noise in the Ben Gurion area. This restriction bans aircraft takeoffs between the hours of 01:00 and 05:30.