Bloomberg: FAA's security measures 'not as safe as' Israel's


The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) does not make airlines and airports in the United States as safe as those in Israel, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said from Jerusalem Wednesday. 

“They are well-meaning. It’s a great organization,” Bloomberg said of the FAA on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” “They make airlines and airports safe in America but not as safe as Ben Gurion and El Al are.” 

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat stood next to Bloomberg for the interview. 

Bloomberg, a billionaire, flew to Tel Aviv on an El Al commercial flight late Tuesday to show solidarity with Israel despite a ban the FAA instituted for all U.S. flights to and from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport.

The former mayor, who’s Jewish and has traveled to Israel before, said Ben Gurion is the “world’s most secure airport” and Israel’s national airline, El Al, is “the most secure airline.” The FAA made a “mistake,” he said, adding he hopes “they rectify it soon.”

On Wednesday, however, the FAA extended the ban for an additional 24 hours and will review it again on Thursday.

Bloomberg suggested common security breaches at U.S. airports would be a rarity for the Israelis.

“In America, too many times we find people walking across runways, carrying guns walking through security and getting on the plane, baggage not claimed afterward. It’s a good lesson for us: how to run an airline, how to run an airport. And I think the FAA should try to make sure that American airlines and American airports try to follow what’s done here. We certainly don’t want to stop flights into America. It’s devastating to Israel, it would be devastating to America,” he said.

The FAA issued its notice to U.S. airmen Tuesday after a rocket fired from Gaza landed on a house located a mile from Ben Gurion.

“The fact that one rocket falls far away from this airport, a mile away, doesn’t mean you should shut down air traffic into a country and paralyze a country,” Bloomberg said. 

“You can’t just get cowed when somebody says something and everybody goes on the side of ultimate caution,” he added. “That’s how terrorists win, Wolf. You can’t do that.” 

Barkat chimed in and said Israel’s security measures are “as good as it gets” and the “risk coming to Israel is minimal.”