Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FAA tells U.S. airlines not to fly to Tel Aviv

In a sign of increased caution about flying near combat zones, U.S. and European airlines halted flights to Israel Tuesday after a rocket landed near Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport.

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines suspended service between the United States and Israel indefinitely. US Airways scrapped its one flight to Tel Aviv Tuesday. Germany's Lufthansa and Air France also suspended flights. The actions come days after a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over eastern Ukraine with 298 people on board.

Following the action by the U.S. airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibited U.S. airlines from flying to the Tel Aviv airport for 24 hours.

The Israelis are fighting Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip in the third war in just over five years. Israeli police confirmed that a rocket from Gaza landed in an area near the airport. Police spokeswomen Luba Samri said Tuesday's rocket landing was the closest to the airport since fighting began on July 8.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine Thursday while flying at 33,000 feet. Some experts have second-guessed the airline's decision to fly over an area where pro-Russian separatists are battling the Ukrainian army. But Malaysian officials have countered that the plane's path from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was approved by international regulators.

Aviation and legal experts said Tuesday that airlines are now taking risk assessment into their own hands, both for the safety of passengers and to avoid claims of negligence.

Aviation consultant Robert Mann said airlines are becoming more proactive in the wake of the Fligth 17 disaster.

"It's really forcing every carrier, every business jet operator to do their own due diligence, do their own risk assessment, given the geopolitical situation," Mann said.

Jonathan Reiter, a prominent New York aviation-accident lawyer, said flying into an airport after a near-miss by a rocket could be used to show that the airline was negligent. That explains why airlines are suspending service to Israel.

"I'm sure it is human concern as well," Reiter said, "but I think (the airlines) feel it is wise to err on the side of caution because it is their burden to prove they are doing everything possible to avoid injuries and deaths."

Delta's one daily flight was already in the air. A Delta Boeing 747 from New York was flying over the Mediterranean headed for Tel Aviv when it turned around and flew to Paris instead. Flight 468 had 273 passengers and 17 crew on board. US Airways and United flights that were scheduled to take off later in the day. A Delta spokesman declined to go beyond the details released in a statement.

Israel's Transportation Ministry called on the airlines to reverse their decision and said it was trying to explain that the airport was "safe for landings and departures."

"Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize," it said in a statement.

Casey Norton, a spokesman for US Airways' parent company American Airlines, said the airline is "in constant contact with the FAA and are monitoring the situation closely." The airline has not yet made a decision about flights to Israel scheduled for Wednesday and beyond, he said.

A Delta Air Lines jet takes off at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Mich., in this file photo.  [Associated Press]

A Delta Air Lines jet takes off at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Mich., in this file photo. [Associated Press]

FAA tells U.S. airlines not to fly to Tel Aviv 07/22/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 1:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida Insiders: The state parties are dying; 'I heard someone long for the leadership of Jim Greer'

    Blogs

    For all the attention on Florida Democratic Chairman Stephen Bittel's bone headed gaffe this week, the diminished state of the once mighty Florida GOP today compared to even a few years ago is arguably more striking than the condition of the long-suffering Florida Democratic Party. A decade ago, no one would have …

    Florida Insider Poll
  2. Florida Democrats surging with grassroots enthusiasm, but 2018 reality is grim

    State Roundup

    After Donald Trump's election, so many people started showing up at monthly Pinellas County Democratic Party meetings, the group had to start forking out more money for a bigger room.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden addresses Florida Democrats at the Leadership Blue Gala on June 17 in Hollywood, Fla. (Photo by Carol Porter)
  3. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  4. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy

    Retail

    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Four questions with Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith before he helps lead the St. Pete Pride parade

    Human Interest

    A decade ago, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith was afraid to tell his friends and family he was gay.

    Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith will serve as a grand marshal at the St. Pete Pride parade on Saturday. [City of Largo]