Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Delta Air Lines announced Tuesday it has suspended service to Israel until further notice because of concerns about safety and security for travelers. / Reed Saxon, AP


The Federal Aviation Administration suspended U.S. flights Tuesday to Israel's main airport in Tel Aviv after a missile fell within a mile of the airport.

The agency will decide by noon Wednesday whether to extend the 24-hour prohibition against U.S. flights to Ben-Gurion International Airport because of hostilities between Israel and Gaza.

"The FAA will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation," the agency said in a statement.

The decision came days after Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down Thursday, killing 298 people, during military action between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists.

Three hours after the FAA action, the European Aviation Safety Agency strongly recommended airlines refrain from flying to and from Tel Aviv. Airlines worldwide suspended flights, threatening Israel's tourism industry.

Israel gets more visitors from the United States than any other country. Of 3.5 million visitors last year, 623,000 were Americans, according to Israel's Ministry of Tourism.

Israel's Transportation Ministry called on the companies to reverse their decision, insisting the Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and saying there is no reason to "hand terror a prize," by halting the flights.

Even before the FAA regulatory order, Delta Air Lines, United and US Airways had suspended flights to Israel indefinitely. Delta Flight 468 from New York's JFK airport, a Boeing 747 with 273 passengers and 17 crew members, diverted to Paris on Tuesday after reports of a rocket near Tel Aviv and suspended all its flights indefinitely.

US Airways also canceled a flight to Israel Tuesday. Flight 796, which began in Los Angeles, was canceled in Philadelphia before leaving for Tel Aviv.

United Airlines canceled flights 84 and 90 from Newark to Tel Aviv.

"We are suspending operations to/from Tel Aviv until further notice," United spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm said. "We are working with government officials to ensure the safety of our customers and our employees and will continue to evaluate the situation."

Airlines worldwide followed suit after the FAA order. Air Canada announced it canceled an evening flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv, and it's return flight, and that the airline would "continue to evaluate going forward."

Across Europe, Scandinavian, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Air Berlin and Germanwings each announced flight cancellations.

Siim Kallas, the European Commissioner for transport, said he is "very concerned at situation near Ben Gurion airport" and is "monitoring closely.".

The State Department has been warning to defer non-essential travel to Israel since Feb. 3 because of hostilities with the West Bank and Gaza.

Long-range rockets launched from Gaza since July 8, 2014 have reached many locations in Israel, including Tel Aviv. While many rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, there have been impacts that have caused damage and injury.

Israeli Defense Forces said in its Twitter feed that Iron Dome had intercepted one rocket above Tel Aviv while a second rocket fell in the town of Yehud, about a mile and a half from the airport.

Contributing: The Associated Press



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: FAA bans U.S. airlines from Israel over rocket threat

More In

test

Real Deals

Flip, shop and save on specials from your favorite retailers in central Ohio.

GET DEALS | COUPONS

Things To Do

SAT
25
SUN
26
MON
27
TUE
28
WED
29
THU
30
FRI
31

CLASSIFIEDS

Classifieds from across Central Ohio
Lancaster
Chillicothe
Newark
Marion
Bucyrus
Mansfield
Zanesville
Coshocton

Weeklies & Shoppers

10TV Headlines

Dispatch Headlines

METROMIX