TORONTO, Oct 24 (AFP) – Two El Al flights in 24 hours avoided Toronto’s airport and landed in nearby Hamilton, after a security threat diverted the plane to two Canadian airports on the first leg of its trip, a transport official said Friday. On Thursday, an El Al flight to Los Angeles that had been due to stop in Toronto was diverted twice, first to Montreal’s Mirabel airport and then to Hamilton’s airport. The plane then headed to Los Angeles without incident.
“On its return flight from Los Angeles last night, El Al decided that it wanted to operate using the Hamilton airport again, which it did and has proceeded on to its final destination into Israel,” said Peter Coyles, a Transport Canada spokesman.
The aircraft had been due to make a stopover in Toronto on its return journey to Israel.
Israel’s privately run Channel Two television reported Friday that the latest diversion was due to reports of a possible terrorist attack. Canadian officials would not comment on the reasons.
Canadian Transport Minister David Collenette, speaking of Thursday’s incident, said Friday that there had been “a specific threat against El Al at (Toronto’s) Pearson airport.
“I want to assure travelers that there is not a problem with travelling to Pearson, to Toronto, but it was specific to that flight being allowed into Pearson airport.”
A spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police declined to confirm or deny reports by CTV News that there had been a missile threat against the El aircraft and helicopters with infrared camera had been deployed around the airport.