I was recently travelling through JFK in New York City and saw the El Al 747, presumably arrived as ELY1 and departing as ELY4, sitting on the apron near terminal 4. What I saw was similar to as shown in the video capture below. The fellow plane-nerd I was travelling with claimed that it was parked there because the onboard missile defense systems of a El Al 747 include a pyrotechnic MAWS, which is considered dangerous to ground personnel. He claimed that this, in turn, is why the plane sits on the apron rather than at the gate or in a hangar (where it would be closer to maintenance personnel).
Which, if any, of these facts are true?
- The MAWS on the 747 is the pyrotechnic type (such as flight guard) rather than the newer laser.
- The MAWS on the 747 is considered dangerous by whichever governing body is salient.
- The MAWS is the reason the plane is sitting where it is.
OR is this just a convenient spot to keep a massive object for the 5 hours it's not needed?
I would split these questions into three separate posts but they seem too closely related for that.