Several US and European carriers have suspended flights to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport following the US FAA’s decision to order three US airlines to stop services for 24 hours. The move comes after a missile landed about one mile from Ben Gurion Airport. The recent destruction of Malaysian Airline’s flight MH17 has raised concerns about flights over or near conflict zones and fierce fighting has claimed the lives of over 600 people in the area since Israeli forces launched an offensive into Gaza 15 days ago.
A statement by the US State Department said: “The FAA makes these decisions when they feel it is warranted, again for the safety of United States citizens”.
The US FAA decision only affects US carriers that fly to Israel – in this case it involves Delta, United and US Airways – to halt flights for 24 hours. Europe’s aviation regulator, EASA, is also “strongly recommending” airlines should not to fly to Tel Aviv.
KLM and Air France have decided to suspended flights along with easyJet, Air Canada and Alitalia. Lufthansa had already decided to suspend its Tel Aviv flights for two days before any recommendations were made.
The Israeli Government’s Transportation Ministry commented that: “Ben Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize.”