FAA Prohibits U.S. Airlines From Flying To Tel Aviv
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a 24-hour ban on flights to and from the Tel Aviv airport.
"The notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning of July 22, 2014," the FAA said in a statement.
As we reported earlier, some American carriers had already started canceling flights to and from Israel. Delta said one flight — traveling from JFK this morning with 273 passengers — was diverted to Paris-Charles de Gaulle after the airline received news of the rocket strike.
"The safety of our passengers and crew is American's top priority," American Airlines said in a statement. "We have cancelled US Airways Flight 797 from Tel Aviv (TLV) to Philadelphia (PHL) and Flight 796 from PHL to TLV for July 22 in response to security concerns at TLV. "
United Airlines said it was suspending its flights "until further notice."
Update at 9 p.m. ET. Mike Bloomberg To Fly To Tel Aviv:
Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg says he will fly to Tel Aviv on Israeli Airlines Tuesday night "to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel."
In a statement on his website, Bloomberg says the FAA flight restrictions are "a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Secretary of State John Kerry to lift the flight ban, the BBC reports. Kerry told Netanyahu by phone that the U.S. would review the order within a day, says the news agency AFP, citing State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Update at 1:37 p.m. ET. International Carriers Cancel:
The Associated Press reports that Germany and France's largest airlines — Lufthansa and Air France — say they are also suspending flights to Tel Aviv.
The wire service reports:
"Lufthansa said Tuesday evening that it was suspending all Tel Aviv flights for 36 hours, including those operated by subsidiaries Germanwings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss. The company says it made the decision as a precaution to protect the safety of its passengers and crews."
On Twitter, Air France said flights to Tel Aviv were scheduled to operate tomorrow.