American, European airlines suspend flights to Israel

A Delta plane. Credit: Steve Fitzgerald via Wikimedia Commons.

( American and European airlines have suspended all flights to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport after a rocket landed about one mile from the airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that airlines are “prohibited from flying to or from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport for a period of up to 24 hours.”

As a result, the three U.S. airlines that provide service to Israel—Delta, U.S. Airways, and United—canceled all flights to the Jewish state, and Delta even diverted one Israel-bound flight to Paris’s Charles DeGaulle Airport. 

Major European airlines followed suit, with Air France suspending all flights due to “security reasons linked to the evolution of the local situation,” an Air France official said, Reuters reported. 

Lufthansa, Swiss Air, and KLM have also suspended service to Israel. 

Israeli Transportation Minister Israel Katz insisted that it is safe to land at Ben Gurion Airport.

“There is no reason for the American companies to stop their flight and give a prize to terror,” Katz said. 

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which protects Ben Gurion Airport and Tel Aviv, has taken down nearly 90 percent of the rockets it has targeted during the current conflict with Hamas. The FAA’s move appears to be influenced by last week’s downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 by pro-Russian separatists, forcing airlines and the FAA to take greater precautions.

El Al, Israel’s flagship airline, has not suspended any flights. 

Posted on July 22, 2014 .