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article imageFear of rocket attacks keeps FAA ban on U.S. flights to Israel

By Stephen Pope     Jul 23, 2014 in World
Tel Aviv - For a second consecutive day the Federal Aviation Administration has banned all U.S. owned airlines from flying to and from Israel while the two governments look for ways to decrease the danger to airlines flying into Ben Gurion International Airport
In a press release issued earlier today the FAA has extended its ban for another 24-hours on all U.S. air carriers from flying to and from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.
The agency said in its press release this morning, The agency is working closely with the Government of Israel to review the significant new information they have provided and determine whether potential risks to U.S. civil aviation are mitigated so the agency can resolve concerns as quickly as possible. Just what the new information is the agency did not say.
Just like Tuesday, a number of international air carriers have also continued to suspend service to and from Tel Aviv including, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss Air and K.L.M. Israel's Airport Authority noted the U.S. ban on its website "The American Federal Aviation Administration followed by several European airlines have ceased their flights to Israel for the next 24 hours. For further information please contact the airline's call center and travel agencies. All international flights from Terminal 1 will be moved to Terminal 3, until Saturday 26/07 at midnight. There will be no change in domestic flights"
Air Canada said in a tweet early this morning they were cancelling their flights to and from Tel Aviv today as well.
A White House spokesman said the Obama administration is not likely to interfere with the ban adding, "Frankly the situation we saw in the Ukraine only underscores the need to take extra precautions when it comes to the safety of civilian airliners."
The ban which has now been extended to at least 12:15 pm ET Thursday was sharply criticized Tuesday by Israel's Transportation Minister Israel Katz saying, "There is no need for these companies to stop flights" and the U.S. by doing so he said has given a "Prize to terror."
Calling the FAA ban a "mistake" former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg arrived in Tel Aviv early Wednesday on an El Al flight from New York in a show of support for what he calls "the world's most secure airport." "I think Hamas is trying to kill the Palestinians and kill the Israelis and somebody has to say they got to stop this," he added.
In an effort to possibly ease the strain the ban has caused Israel's tourist industry, Israel has opened the Ovda military airport to civilian airlines. The airbase located in the Negev desert is about 155 miles from Tel Aviv and far out of the range of Hamas' rockets. However, as of Wednesday no U.S. or foreign airline has started flying into the airbase.
After the July 17 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 some travelers might seem hesitant to fly into an airport where just two days ago a terrorist's rocket exploded destroying a house less than one mile from the airport. However, Israel's Civil Aviation Director Giora Romm told CNN that Hamas has fired more than 2,000 rockets into Israel, yet during that time over 6,000 flights have safely landed and departed from Ben Gurion International Airport.
More about hamas rockets, faa ban on flights, ben gurion, Gaza city
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