FAA Lifts Ban on U.S. Flights to Israel

 - July 24, 2014, 8:38 AM

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on July 24 lifted the prohibition on U.S. flights to and from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport it imposed earlier this week due to the fighting in Gaza. The agency said it cancelled a notice to airmen (Notam) it had earlier renewed, with the cancellation becoming effective at 11:45 EDT.

“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. “The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions, as necessary.”

The FAA instituted a 24-hour flight ban for U.S. carriers on July 22 in response to a rocket strike that landed approximately one mile from the airport. It issued a second Notam on July 23 extending the prohibition for up to another 24 hours.

Israel’s leadership protested the FAA’s action, which also caused a political backlash in the U.S. On July 23, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said he would place a hold on all nominees to State Department positions until the Obama administration answered questions about its “unprecedented decision to cancel flights to Israel.” Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Tel Aviv on Israel’s El Al airline to show solidarity with the country and protest the flight ban.