FAA ends ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

FAA ends ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv

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The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. carriers from flying to Tel Aviv. The announcement was made late Wednesday night.The FAA had extended the ban on Wednesday afternoon after its first ban went into effect 24 hours earlier. 

The decision was made after a rocket launched into Israel from Gaza landed near the Ben Gurion Airport.

United Airlines will be the first U.S. carrier to resume flights to Israel after a two-day hiatus caused by combat in the Gaza Strip.

The Chicago-based airline says it will resume service to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv with a 4:45 p.m. eastern flight from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

A second United flight will leave Newark at 10:50 p.m. eastern.

Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, the two other U.S. carriers that fly to Israel, have said they are still evaluating their plans.

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg flew to Tel Aviv on El Al, Israel's airline, to "show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel."

"Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely," Bloomberg said in a statement before the flight. "The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US airlines to fly to Israel."

Delta Air Lines' one daily flight was already in the air on Tuesday when the Boeing 747 from New York to Tel Aviv was turned around over the Mediterranean and flown to Paris instead. Flight 468 had 273 passengers and 17 crew on board.

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.

"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.

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.

Copyright 2014 MyFoxNY/The Associated Press.

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