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FAA lifts ban on US flights to Tel Aviv airport

Onboard an EasyJet flight, bound for Spain, showing the flight attendant walking the aisle.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban Wednesday on U.S. flights in and out of Israel, which the agency had imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets.

The decision was effective at 11:45 p.m. EDT.

"Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation," the FAA said. "The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions as necessary."

The FAA instituted a 24-hour prohibition Tuesday in response to a rocket strike that landed about a mile from the airport.

The directive, which was extended Wednesday, applied only to U.S. carriers. The FAA has no authority over foreign airlines operating in Israel.

U.S. Lifts Ban on Carriers Flying Into Tel Aviv

The FAA's flight ban was criticized by the Israeli government and by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who questioned whether President Barack Obama used a federal agency to impose an economic boycott on Israel.

Delta Air Lines, which diverted a jumbo jet away from Tel Aviv before Tuesday's ban by the FAA, will not necessarily resume flights to Israel even if U.S. authorities declare the area safe, the airline's CEO said before the FAA lifted the ban.

CEO Richard Anderson said Delta would of course obey FAA orders but would continue to make its own decisions about safety.

"We appreciate the advice and consent and the intelligence we get, but we have a duty and an obligation above and beyond that to independently make the right decisions for our employees and passengers," Anderson said on a conference call with reporters. "Even if they lift" the prohibition on flying in and out of Ben-Gurion Airport, "we still may not go in depending on what the facts and circumstances are."

Anderson declined to discuss specifically how the airline would make the decision to resume the flights and spoke only in general terms. He said the airline decides whether flights are safe to operate "on an independent basis, so we will evaluate the information we have and we will make the judgment that our passengers and employees rely on us to make for them every day."

The CEO of Middle East carrier Emirates said after the shoot-down in Ukraine of a Malaysia Airlines jet last week that global airlines need better risk-assessment from international aviation authorities. Delta, however, seems more inclined to go it alone.

"We have a broad and deep security network around the world," Anderson said. "We have security directors that work for Delta in all the regions of the world, and we have a very sophisticated capability and methodology to manage these kinds of risks, whether it's this or a volcano or a hurricane."

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libsfault July 24 2014 at 4:47 AM

We all know who makes the decisions and who's screwing up this country and the world.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
9 replies
National July 24 2014 at 4:07 AM

I would like to know who influenced the FAA's decision, when they did NOT ban and still have not banned flights over the Ukraine where an airline actually was shot down just last week.

Flag Reply +22 rate up
9 replies
windyoak July 24 2014 at 4:30 AM

Arabic saying[''''''''HE WHO DIGS A GRAVE FOR SOMEONE ..USUALLY FALLS IN IT HIMSELF......Our administration ,and the World wants to crucify Israel for the civilian killings....And express bleeding hearts for Hamas....AND..They demands, that Israel stops the bombing in Gaza. .MEANWHILE, STOPPING ISRAELI FLIGHTS TO ISRAEL MEANS......The world is scared of Hamas that it may BLOW UP PLANES AND PASSENGERS.....The world became certified morons to ask Israel to stop the threat....MAYBE THE NO FLY IN ISRAEL SHED SOME LIGHT ON HOW DANGEROUS HAMAS IS...OTHERWISE, OBAMA WOULDNT GAVE THE ORDER TO STOP AMERICAN AIRLINES FROM LANDING IN ISRAEL....cant the World stop intterfering and allow Israel to do what's should of been done LONG AGO..

Flag Reply +17 rate up
5 replies
laugh July 24 2014 at 6:52 AM

Bad news. If YOU buy a ticket, get on a plane to Tel Aviv, it's not the President's fault that you're stupid.

Flag Reply +14 rate up
3 replies
crowland503 July 24 2014 at 4:14 AM

I don't give a damn about how safe the Israeli politicians want to cry, they are not on the destroyed aircraft after the missile hits! All the Jewish tears can not put Humpty Dumpty back together! Only you can save your life and not be a dead tourist!!!

Flag Reply +11 rate up
3 replies
raptureus210 July 24 2014 at 6:48 AM

When it's all said and done, Israel is still still safest nation on earth. Not because what anyone does or say, because God's Word says He will protect her and destroy anyone that trys to destroys her. Are they perfect? Are they all in the Will of God? No! Nevertheless, God will protect her and bless her! Not my words, His words and I believe them!

Flag Reply +9 rate up
4 replies
georgemitchell94 July 24 2014 at 9:20 AM

Obama calls for a cease-fire when Israel has the upper hand. Obama sends millions to Hamas ans calls it humanitarian aid. Obama falls short of ordering a no fly zone over Israel for safety reasons, the public didn't buy it, and now they lift the ban. More help from the US to Hamas at this point will not be a surprise. Obama is not helping our ally Israel, and is helping our enemy, Hamas, a terrorist group we are at war with. The word to describe the President's clearly fall within the definition of treason.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
musikfanat July 24 2014 at 4:15 AM

It's funny and pitiful how faux noose and other haters, tried to blame the president for the ban on flights into Israel as an anti-Israel power grab. Their abject hatred for the president is astounding...

Flag Reply +9 rate up
14 replies
mitzi421 July 24 2014 at 7:12 AM

So tell me, why does the FAA have anything to say about an airport in Isreal? Like we couldn't figure out that Obama was for Hamas before this? We have certainly figured it out now...huh folks? Obama hates Isreal.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
11 replies
JLS July 24 2014 at 4:34 AM

Is that Ted Cruz the dumbest man on the planet or what? My GOD, it simply wasn't safe! While the Republicans LIE DENY AND DISTORT things daily, Cruz has an IQ of 12. Not everything has a political fueled reason. Safety and missiles being fired near the airport hasn't one dang thing to do with politics in the USA. Texas is full of these dopes.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
10 replies
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