A major air disaster was averted on Monday as an Electra Airways Boeing 737-400 made a successful emergency landing at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport after one of its tires was blown out during takeoff in Cologne, Germany.
Staff at Ben Gurion were put on highest alert on Monday afternoon as the plane with 152 on board prepared to land.
More than 100 ambulances were scrambled to the scene and all other flights were cancelled or diverted.
After circling in a holding pattern to shed fuel, the 737 touched down at 4:25 p.m. local time, using engine braking to keep pressure off the tires.
No injuries were reported as passengers began disembarking on the tarmac. Prior to landing, the plane had been escorted into Israeli airspace by two F-16 fighter jets.
The military pilots assessed the damage and reported one of the aircraft’s back left tires had been blown out.
The 737-400 aircraft is one of only three jets operated by Electra Airways, a small Bulgarian charter airline founded in 2016. Electra also owns two Airbus A320-200 series aircraft. (NAN)