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Airline on ramp

An Israeli airliner that made an emergency landing left Billings Monday evening after getting repaired and inspected.

LARRY MAYER/Gazette Staff

A Boeing 777 left Billings at about 5:30 p.m. Monday after making an emergency landing Sunday and subsequently being grounded.

The El Al Airlines jet was transporting about 300 people from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles when an indicator warned of a possible fire in the airplane’s right engine. The aircraft made an unplanned stop at Billings Logan International airport. While the passengers left on a replacement 777 Sunday night, the original jet sat on the tarmac until El Al mechanics sorted out its issues.

Kevin Ploehn, acting director of aviation and transit, said the mechanics arrived on the second airplane from Newark. They spent Monday working on the right engine and replaced a few parts, including fire extinguishers the pilot deployed as a precaution before landing in Billings.

“If there was a fire, it was very small and centralized,” said Ploehn. “We don’t have all the details on that, but (the mechanics) made it airworthy and took off (Monday).”

The Federal Aviation Administration sent officials from Helena to Billings to inspect the plane before it took flight, said Allen Kenitzer, FAA spokesperson.

Kenitzer said the inspectors arrived sometime Monday afternoon and cleared the aircraft for takeoff.



General assignment reporter for the Billings Gazette.