Watch: Iron Dome Defends Tel Aviv Airport from Inbound Missiles While Plane Comes In To Land

While nearly all other airlines have ceased operations that Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel’s national carrier El Al continues to operate nearly its entire schedule, every day.

Yet there’s video of an aircraft on approach to Tel Aviv while Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system takes out inbound rockets.

On Thursday night, though, El Al flight 546 from Athens to Tel Aviv climbed back out while on approach to the airport as missiles were intercepted heading towards the airport. After holding, the plane was able to land. There’s been speculation online that this is the plane seen in the following video, though it has not been confirmed.

The Boeing 737, like El Al’s 777s, was equipped with the C-MUSIC automatic missile defense system. It has countermeasures of its own. But for safety it’s well-advised not to need to use them.

Dan’s Deals reports that per the airline’s Vice President of Operations,

  • The captain of the flight “did not report anything unusual and neither did any other El Al flights” so either missiles may not have been as close as it appears in this video and that “it’s extremely difficult to gauge distances at night due to how the plane and missiles are illuminated in the dark sky.”

  • There were no reports of danger to flight operatoins from the airport “and holding patterns are very common due to the war.”

Dan Eleff adds that according to the airline Vice President, El Al “works very closely with the IDF and receives real-time alerts of any safety issues and always has a heads-up when there is missile activity in the area.”

The Wall Street Journal provided this explainer on how Tel Aviv’s airport stays open in the midst of war, where it’s a target. Air traffic control routes planes away from conflict areas – including the route where anti-missile batteries fire to take out missiles. Planes load with additional fuel as well. The airport has done this before, though prior Hamas attacks.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. When you are surrounded by countries that want to eliminate you, you take the steps necessary to keep as much of life as safe as possible, including using military technology in civilian life.

    Well done to El Al for keeping the planes safely moving.

  2. Fantastic! I am so thankful Israel put the money and tech into this defense. None of us can understand what it’s like when most all of your neighbors want you dead.

  3. I’m waiting for “Iron Beam” to be operational (it is being operationally *tested* right now in this current war). Should happen soon enough, and will be a total game changer. An almost StarWars like looking hyper intense laser beam that focuses on the flying target (rocket, drone) and within seconds heats it up to the point of the object (or large chunk of it) breaks apart or explodes.
    No need for intercepter missiles (or at least much less), which is a huge relief both on no need to get more ammunition supplies, and huge financial savings.

  4. If the Iron Beam system works, it will definitely be a game changer. It is like one of the pieces proposed in the Strategic Defense Initiative by Reagan.

  5. Jeff,

    “While nearly all other airlines have ceased operations that Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport” – I think you meant ‘to’

    Also it’s C-MUSIC not E-MUSIC

    Give yourself a bit of a break, man!

  6. I’ve had to get family members in and out of the country in the past few weeks and am very grateful to El Al for continuing to operate as frequently and safely as possible under the circumstances. The other thing they deserve credit for is not jacking up their prices. I was looking for last minute tickets out a couple weeks ago and some of the few other airlines operating had jacked prices up to astronomical levels. El Al continued selling tickets to and from Europe and the US at normal rates, with free changes allowed due to the situation. This has been a huge help in a very stressful situation.

  7. It’s not a war. It’s a genocide.

    Shame on the US, the UK, and the EU for funding, arming and supporting this apartheid state.

    Free Palestine

  8. @jns:
    > If the Iron Beam system works, it will definitely be a game changer. It is like one of the pieces proposed in the Strategic Defense Initiative by Reagan.

    Except his proposal was impractical even by today’s standards. The issue is one of range–the accuracy required goes up linearly with range. Likewise, collimation needs to go up linearly with range. Furthermore, long range shooting suffers thermal bloom problems causing the beam to diffuse even if it starts out good. And ground-based lasers are only good for terminal defense–but space-based lasers have big issues with vibration (you can’t address that with big hunks of fastened-down mass in space like you can on Earth) and thermal effects messing with your accuracy (again, you can’t use the brute force approach.)

    Finally, boost-phase intercept means your weapons are firing down onto enemy territory. Fine in war, but what if you misidentify something in the very narrow window you have for the engagement? (Off the top of my head: 1983, Russian satellites mistakenly identify “missiles” that are really very high clouds still in sunlight while the missile fields below had already had sunset. 1995, Russian radars mistakenly identify a scientific rocket from Norway as a hostile launch of an EMP warhead. Bird was real, launched from an offshore island (the Russian radars weren’t accurate enough for that, they simply saw it came from the sea) and the burn exactly matched an older US submarine launched ballistic missile (because it really was the motor from such a missile, recycled for scientific purposes.) The Russian radars weren’t good enough to see it was heading due north instead of heading towards the northern part of Russia. Somebody in Russia lost the notification that they were sending it up, probably because the notification had months-wide launch window–the scientists were waiting for the conditions aloft to match what they wanted to look at.)

  9. @James Ward

    Must be fun to be a troll and a keyboard revolutionary but in reality your ignorance makes your post incomprehensible. The genocide happened on October 7th and it was perpetrated by Hamas on completely innocent people, 100% civilians, mostly women and children killed, tortured, dismembered, decapitated, burned alive or captured for one single reason: their ethnicity. That is the definition of a genocide. The collateral civilian loss of life that is happening now is a tragedy but one brought on, fully knowingly, by Hamas who for years has used innocent Palestinians as human shields. When they embed themselves into civilian populations, under hospitals, shooting shoulder launched rockets from apartment windows, hiding in mosques and schools, they do so knowingly because innocent human lives, whether Arab or Jewish, have no value to them. In this case, the more innocents who die on either side, the more it is a win for Hamas. And they were 100% percent aware of how massive Israel’s reaction would be and how many Palestinians would die as a result of their actions. Anyone with a shred of experience or knowledge about the Middle East, anyone who takes the time to study the issue, knows this is a big part of the problem and reason why in every conflict innocent lives are tragically lost. Read something from Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a Hamas founder, who recognizes that Hamas is the Palestinians’ biggest enemy right now. If you do have any interest in actually educating yourself that is, which seems unlikely from your post.

    And regarding your equally ignorant comment about Apartheid, again get some actual information before you spew nonsense. I spent years living, studying and working in Israel and I had many friends, classmates and colleagues who were Palestinian Muslims, Arab Christians and Druze. It was one of the great things about Israel that I really enjoyed, a multicultural, democratic society with not only Jews from all over the world but other faiths and ethnicities too. No society is without any discrimination but I can tell you from firsthand experience (and most Israelis will say the same) that Jews and non-Jews coexist in the country, laws protect and respect everyone, and in everyday life people get along fine and most embrace the diversity. Do you even know what the word Apartheid means? Gaza is nearly 100% Arab and controlled by Hamas in recent years so I have no idea what Apartheid state you are talking about but I’m sure neither do you.

    Lasting peaceful coexistence will happen, though with every conflict it seems farther away and I’m not sure what form it will ultimately take. People like you do nothing to advance the cause of anybody but yourself

    Anyway this is a travel blog so don’t waste your time with incendiary, ignorant bullshit.

  10. Israel is a white settler colony.

    The genocide didn’t begin October 7 2023. It began with the Nakba in 1948 and the relentless land theft and violent suppression of Palestinians ever since.

    If someone stole your land and property, what would you do?

    Palestinians have the moral right to resist.

  11. I can’t comprehend how anyone can watch what’s happening to the poor souls trapped in the open air prison that Isreal has created and think that Israel’s response is proportionate and justified.

    Oh wait… they’re brown folks so very easy to dehumanise, describe as “animals”, and obliterate without consequence.

  12. @Andys: Not helpful and not true. Dehumanizing or delegitimizing Palestinians and their desire for nationhood just makes things worse.

    @James Ward: I know it’s much more satisfying to repeat platitudes and a few terms you’ve learned on the Internet but if you took ANY time and effort at all to study the issue, you’d see how wrong you are. From the time of its creation at the end of the British Mandate, Israel has been repeatedly attacked by multiple Arab countries simultaneously in multiple unprovoked wars to try to remove their presence in a tiny sliver of land determined by the Brits and rejected by every Arab nation, and what you characterize as land theft was land that was occupied defensively to expand their borders after repeated attacks in several wars. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t possibly be relinquished at some point to create a Palestinian nation in the West Bank and Gaza (which would probably take a fortified land bridge to connect the two)– but that’s the reason the Israelis are there in the first place. If you mean the entire country of Israel is stolen land, learn your history because Jews have been in the area for thousands of years as well. Hamas wants Israel and Jews to be gone entirely (and at various pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the world in the past few days similar sentiments have been expressed like chanting “from the River to the Sea”- meaning every inch of Israel) and that was the motive for the Nakba for Jews and subsequently for Gazans that they created on October 7th. Total destruction for the Jewish Nation, not a peace deal or two-state solution.

    As to your idea that Israel is a white settler colony and the reason Palestinians are suffering, again you are showing you are clueless about the issue, history or facts and I’m sure have never been to the area. Israel is FULL of brown and black people and white people of all religions. Explain your white settler theory to the millions of dark Israeli Ethiopian, Indian, and Arab descent Eastern Jews who make up a large part of the country. You live in a dumb US and social media bubble so you think all Jews are eastern European white because most in the US are. It’s totally different in Israel. There are also plenty of Palestinians of every shade and skintone and plenty of Jews who look exactly like their Arab brothers and sisters (many of whom speak Arabic) because they’ve lived in the same countries for centuries. Your “because racism” argument is not even factually feasible.

    Your Apartheid theory and white settler theory are just jackass platitudes from someone who has never scratched even a centimeter into this complex issue. Best to keep them to yourself or find a more appropriate forum.

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