FAA: All US Airlines Flights To Tel Aviv Prohibited For 24 Hours Over Missile Fear
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday prohibited all U.S. airlines from flying to Israel for 24 hours after a rocket landed near Tel Aviv’s airport.
The FAA issued the notice to airmen (NOTAM) at 9:15 a.m. after the rocket struck just one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport.
“The FAA immediately notified U.S. carriers when the agency learned of the rocket strike and informed them that the agency was finalizing a NOTAM,” the statement read. “The FAA will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation. Updated instructions will be provided to U.S. airlines as soon as conditions permit.”
Both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines said they are suspending service between the U.S. and Israel indefinitely.
Delta Air Lines’ one daily flight was already in the air. Delta said a Boeing 747 from New York was flying over the Mediterranean headed for Tel Aviv when it turned around and flew to Paris instead. Flight 468 had 273 passengers and 17 crew on board.
Only one U.S. flight was affected from the Los Angeles International Airport. American Airlines/U.S. Airways flight 796 departed for Philadelphia at 11 a.m. but the connecting flight from Philadelphia International Airport to Tel Aviv was cancelled.
El Al Israel Airlines has one flight scheduled to depart from LAX at 1:15 p.m. It was unclear whether that flight will be cancelled as the FAA’s NOTAM only applies to U.S. operators.
KNX 1070′s Megan Goldsby reports Abraham Eisenbach was on the phone with customer service for more than an hour trying to get his family friend a flight to Israel after his flight was canceled.
“I think for safety reasons it’s worth it, ’cause with the rockets and everything they can just missile any airplane,” Eisenbach said.
But over at the ticketing counter for Israeli airline El Al – which was unaffected by the suspension – passengers like Esther downplayed any potential security threat.
“I think it’s unnecessary because I know that the army over there, it’s not gonna let something gonna happen,” she said.
Israeli police confirmed that a rocket from Gaza landed in an area near the airport. Police spokeswomen Luba Samri said the rocket caused damage to a house and slightly wounded one Israeli.
Airlines and passengers are growing more anxious about safety since last week, when a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Airlines have rerouted planes to avoid the area over eastern Ukraine where pro-Soviet separatists are battling the Ukrainian army.
A Delta spokesman declined to go beyond the details released in a statement.
US Airways, which has one daily flight from Philadelphia, canceled that flight Tuesday and the return trip from Tel Aviv.
“We are in constant contact with the FAA and are monitoring the situation closely,” said Casey Norton, spokesman for US Airways’ parent company American Airlines. The airline has not yet made a decision about flights to Israel scheduled for Wednesday and beyond.
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