FAA lifts Ben Gurion restrictions

By Doug Newhouse |


The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted restrictions on US carriers flying in and out of Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International airport.

 

This reverses its decision and announcement yesterday to extend the ban on US airlines for a further 24 hours today, following major concerns that Hamas’ rockets being fired into Israel were landing too too close to Tel Aviv Airport [a lone rocket strike was reported to have landed just a mile away from the airport a few days ago-Ed]..

 

In a statement, the FAA said: “Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its US 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 agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions as necessary.”

 

COINCIDENCE – OR SMART POLITICS?

Just prior to this decision, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited Tel Aviv Airport in defiance of the FAA ban on US airlines landing there just to demonstrate it was safe, giving a huge boost to Israel’s claim that this was – and remains – the case. CNN duly provided the publicity for this event, along with other media and Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu was obviously grateful.

 

Welcoming Bloomberg, he said: “Michael, you are a welcomed guest on any day, but especially on this day, to come here as a true leader, a true friend and as a man of standing and truth. And the truth is, that you wanted to demonstrate by coming here, is that this airport is open. You can fly in and out of Israel. We protect this airport.

 

“There’s no reason whatsoever for the mistaken FAA decision to instruct American planes not to come here. I think you’re proving it by coming here. Where I stand, the Prime Minister of Israel, where you stand, anybody can stand. I think this decision only rewards the Hamas terrorists for nothing. You can fly in and out of Israel and I hope that the FAA rescinds this decision as soon as possible.”

 

Non-US airlines are now reviewing their own positions with regard to resuming services to and from Tel Aviv and Delta Air Lines’ senior management has made it clear that while it is grateful for the FAA’s advice, it will continue to monitor the situation in Tel Aviv before resuming services as normal.

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