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Air Canada plane does `go-around' at Tel Aviv; landing was delayed minutes

TORONTO - Air Canada says a flight to Tel Aviv had to perform a "go-around" over southern Israel today until airspace conditions could be confirmed as safe for landing.

Airline spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur says Flight AC84 was advised to do so by by Israeli Air Traffic Control shortly before 12 p.m. local time.

She says the plane altered its course about eight kilometres away from Ben Gurion airport, and landed 10 minutes later without incident.

Arthur says the return flight to Toronto, AC85, departed Tel Aviv about two hours later.

She did not state a specific reason for the go-around, but said the airline plans to operate this evening's flight to Tel Aviv as scheduled.

Flights by Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) to Tel Aviv were resumed Thursday after a suspension on Tuesday following a rocket strike less than two kilometres from the international airport.

Three U.S. airlines serving Israel resumed flights to Tel Aviv the same day, after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on Israeli flights on Wednesday.

Some European airlines also resumed flights on Thursday.

Arthur said earlier the decision to resume flights to Tel Aviv was based on the airline's "own assessment" and that of "regulators of the situation."

In regards to today's landing, Arthur said in an email:

"Five miles prior to landing at Tel Aviv airport this morning (July 25), our flight AC84 originating from Toronto was advised by Israeli Air Traffic Control (ATC) to perform a standard go-around until airspace conditions could be confirmed as safe for landing. Our pilots altered course following ATC's instructions and landed 10 minutes later safely, without incident, at 12:07 local."

Germany's two largest airlines said they were not yet resuming flights to Israel even though the European Aviation Safety Agency has lifted a recommendation that airlines refrain from flying to Tel Aviv airport.

Air Berlin says flights to Tel Aviv were to remain suspended at least through midday Friday, while Lufthansa says all Friday flights to the airport have been cancelled.

The Canadian Press

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