US Federal Aviation Authority lifts Israel flight ban

By Daniel Easterman, July 24, 2014
An American Airlines plane (Photo: RHL Images)

An American Airlines plane (Photo: RHL Images)

The US Federal Aviation Authority has lifted its ban on all American flights to Israel.

The aviation body reversed its earlier decision to extend the ban for another 24 hours after intensive consultations with Israeli security officials.

In a statement on Thursday morning the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) said it had made the decision after reviewing “measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation”.

But Delta Airlines, which was the first airliner to cancel its flights to Ben Gurion international airport, said that despite the FAA’s decision it would not necessarily resume normal service to Tel Aviv.

Delta airlines’ chief executive Richard Anderson said: "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.”

“Even if the FAA lifts 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,” he added.

British budget airline easyJet, which had suspended flights, said it would resume its service from Friday.

The FAA ban was imposed after a rocket and related debris hit a house in the residential neighbourhood of Yehud, just over three miles from the airport.

Prime Minister Netanyahu had harshly criticised to the ban, saying it “only rewards the Hamas terrorists for nothing”.

Last updated: 2:30pm, July 24 2014