Thom­son doesn’t fly — for 48 hours

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEON SY­MONS

A PLANELOAD OF tourists on their way home suf­fered a dou­ble whammy this week that left them stranded in Is­rael for an ex­tra 48 hours.

The 179 tourists were due to leave Ben-Gu­rion Air­port on Sun­day night on a Thom­son­fly Boe­ing 737-800 flight to Lu­ton.

But the plane de­vel­oped what the com­pany called an “in­di­ca­tion fault” on a com­puter and was grounded. A res­cue team sent out with the compu- ter parts was then de­layed be­cause the first of­fi­cer on that air­craft had worked be­yond his le­gal limit. By that time, some of the pas­sen­gers had found other flights out of Is­rael.

Busi­ness­man Jef­frey Blu­men­feld, a friend of one pas­sen­gers, said: “The pas­sen­gers did not seem to be get­ting very much in­for­ma­tion about why they were de­layed or for how long. I tried to con­tact Thom­son but was told noth­ing. It was very frus­trat­ing. Thom­son re­ally needs to im­prove its pub­lic re­la­tions.

“Only the in­ter­ven­tion of the JC has forced the com­pany to say why th­ese peo­ple have suf­fered such a hor­ren­dous de­lay. My friend on the flight got on a plane to Athens and was com­ing home from there on Tues­day.”

AThom­son­spokeswom­an­ex­plained that though the four-year-old BenGu­rion ter­mi­nal was state-of-the-art, it did not have the spe­cific com­puter part needed to get the plane air­borne again.

“We sin­cerely apol­o­gise for this en­forced de­lay. It was cer­tainly never Thom­son­fly’s in­ten­tion to in­con­ve­nience pas­sen­gers in this way. Ev­ery­thing has been done to limit the frus­tra­tion caused,” she said.

“Un­for­tu­nately the flight car­ry­ing the en­gi­neers and equip­ment to re­pair the com­puter fault was also de­layed be­cause of Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity reg­u­la­tions re­lat­ing to crew’s work­ing hours.

“This flight de­lay had the knock-on ef­fect of push­ing the first of­fi­cer over his le­gal work­ing hours limit, re­sult­ing in the flight be­ing un­able to depart [from Tel Aviv] on Mon­day night.” Ear­lier, the com­pany had blamed the bad weather on Mon­day for de­lay­ing the send­ing of an air­craft to bring the pas­sen­gers back.

Thom­son’s spokes­woman said that through­out the de­lay, pas­sen­gers had been pro­vided with com­pli­men­tary ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion and food and drink vouch­ers.

A third plane with a fresh crew was flown to Tel Aviv to pick up the re­main­ing pas­sen­gers and left Tel Aviv at 6pm on Tues­day, with 144 pas­sen­gers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.