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European carriers suspend more Tel Aviv flights

France Flights Canceled Israel

BERLIN (AP) -- Air France and Germany's two largest airlines on Wednesday canceled more flights to Tel Aviv because of safety concerns amid the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Lufthansa and Air Berlin extended their cancelations through Thursday and Air France said it was suspending its flights "until further notice."

The European Aviation Safety Agency late Tuesday said it "strongly recommends" that airlines refrain from operating flights to and from Tel Aviv. It said it would "monitor the situation and advise on any update as the situation develops."

EASA acted after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration prohibited American-based airlines from flying to the airport following a Hamas rocket explosion nearby. The FAA dropped the ban just before midnight Wednesday.

Lufthansa said its decision applies also to its subsidiaries Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines. In all, 20 flights from Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels were cancelled for Thursday.

The airline initially had suspended flights for 36 hours through the end of Wednesday. Those cancelations were extended because "at the current time there is no sufficiently reliable new information that would justify a resumption of air operations," Lufthansa said.

Air Berlin said it is continuing to evaluate the situation to determine whether further cancelations are necessary.

KLM, Alitalia and Scandinavian Airlines were among other European airlines that also canceled flights Tuesday and Wednesday. Polish airline LOT said it would suspend flights to Israel through July 28. Iberia said it had cancelled its Wednesday night and Thursday morning flights to Tel Aviv, and UK-based budget airline easyJet cancelled its Thursday services between its European bases and Tel Aviv.

British Airways, however, said Wednesday it hasn't canceled any of its twice-a-day Tel Aviv flights and had no immediate plans to do so.

A spokesman stressed that British Airways wouldn't fly to Israel if it thought it was unsafe, adding that "each airline draws its own conclusion" on safety.

Aviation security expert Chris Yates said British Airways would have assessed the situation with input from the intelligence services and ultimately concluded there was an acceptable level of risk. He said this may be because the rockets from Gaza "are fairly rudimentary and can't be targeted easily at planes in flight."

Yates said other airlines might have cancelled flights fearing the possibility that rockets could strike their plane on approach or take off, but that Israel's Iron Dome defense system makes that very unlikely.

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stengernc July 24 2014 at 6:38 AM

This land is cursed. Wars for over 6000 years, hate, discrimination, geed, stupidity, ego, over population, tribalism and competing religions all contribute to the carnage....there will never be peace until the cancer on both sides is destroyed and that day is drawing nearer and nearer. I would stay away from this cursed place.

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macsportsvt July 24 2014 at 9:35 AM

Air France - known by experinced travellers as Air CHANCE - is always politically motivated as well as economically motivated. For that matter the French are notorious economic bullies and cheats. This should not be surprising. Lufthansa on the other hand does not have that many flights into Tel Aviv and probably does not have that many seats filled.

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rellimlv macsportsvt July 24 2014 at 11:43 PM

Got it backwards mac. It was the Germans who were the bullies in WW1 & WWII.

I have flown both Air France and Lufthansa and can tell you without question Air France has the better service

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cpruitt221 July 24 2014 at 11:43 AM

Ultimately it is up to the consumer to decide if he wants to chance flying over an area where a plane might be shot down on purpose or by mistake.Don't depend on an airline to make a life threatening decision for you.Of course they want you to fly-it means dollars to them. There are plenty of ways to get there without flying if it is a matter of going home.It reminds me of World War II and the ships that were sunk with passengers that didn't think it could happen to them. These countries are at war.

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rimit9 July 24 2014 at 12:01 PM

Another case of politically motivated economic sanctions against the good guys, You know, Europe is full of spineless lefties. All afraid of the Muslims they allowed to cross their borders, gee sounds familiar doesn't it.

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John July 24 2014 at 12:44 PM

Of course Germany and France did it. They were the main murderers of Jews in WWI and France STILL persecutes the few Jews that escaped the death camps.

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Jay John July 24 2014 at 8:19 PM

Get a life would you. Nobody persecutes Jews in the EU and hanst in mnore than 70 years. How brainwashed are you?

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Mike July 24 2014 at 1:55 PM

I'm going to give the FAA and the Euro airlines the benefit of the doubt that they are concerned about safety. I'd need to see a smoking gun before thinking this is politically motivated to put pressure on Israel. Could be true, who knows, but it is conjecture at best, at the moment.

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1 reply
roger Mike July 24 2014 at 2:28 PM

Hey Mike. A 'smoking gun...?' How 'bout a mushroom cloud over your city?

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blivethopper July 24 2014 at 6:01 PM

Not all European airlines are gutless, anti-semtic wonders. British Airways never stopped service to Tel Aviv

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Jay blivethopper July 24 2014 at 8:21 PM

Since when does not wanting to fly somewhere make one anti semetic? I dont like to fly to Mexico but that does not make me anti Mexican. You brainwashed fools are all alike. Wake uo or grow up would you.

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sterlingbykenny July 24 2014 at 5:53 PM

France is selling the missiles that are shooting down planes. I think it will be ironic when a French jet with French citizens gets blown right to Vichy-land.the French are the cowards of the planet. they will be bankrupt in five years. the muslim from within France will destroy the wimpy cretons.

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roger July 24 2014 at 2:26 PM

Hang in there, BiBi. Your people have been persecuted for thousands of years and have always survived. God has your back.

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John July 24 2014 at 12:47 PM

MY typo sys WWI but it was supposed to read WWII.

France joined the Nazis and the first American soldiers killed fighting the German Nazis were killed by the French in North Africa. They are not my favorite European country.

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