FAA lifts ban on US flights to Israel

 

The Federal Aviation Administration announced late Wednesday that it has lifted its ban on United States flights to and from Israel.

“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 in its statement around 11:45 p.m.

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The FAA said its primary mission is the “protection of people traveling on U.S. airlines,” and it will continue monitoring the “very fluid situation” near Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. 

On Wednesday afternoon, the FAA had extended its ban and said it would again review it within 24 hours. The agency first instituted a one-day ban on Tuesday afternoon after reports a rocket from Gaza struck and nearly destroyed a house just a mile from Ben Gurion. 

Some European airlines followed the U.S.'s example and also canceled their flights to Israel.

Israeli officials criticized the U.S. for putting the ban in place, claiming that the airport is secure and the country is safe. 

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to fly to Israel on a commercial El Al flight on Tuesday night to show solidarity with Israel despite the ban.

Secretary of State John Kerry also flew into Israel at Ben Gurion airport Wednesday to continue pushing for a cease-fire in discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.