FAA Bans U.S. Flights to Tel Aviv Airport

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, is prohibiting U.S. airlines from flying to Israel's international airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in Gaza landed nearby, damaging a house and slightly injuring one Israeli. European airlines quickly canceled their flights as well.

Delta, US Airways and United Airlines had already called off their flights Tuesday after hearing about the rocket that landed about 1.6 km from Ben Gurion Airport. The United States at first said it had not issued any restrictions, but then the Federal Aviation Administration ordered the ban and said it would continue to monitor the situation.

Delta said in a statement that it has suspended operations "until further notice" to and from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv and its hub at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. The Atlanta-based carrier said it was doing so in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration "to ensure the safety of our customers and employees."

Delta diverted one of its New York-to-Tel Aviv flights to Paris after hearing of the attack.

U.S. Airways, which flies from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Tel Aviv, called off its Tuesday flight, while United Airlines indefinitely canceled its flights from Newark, New Jersey to Tel Aviv.

Dutch national carrier KLM canceled its flight from Amsterdam, while Air France and Germany's Lufthansa also called off their flights to Tel Aviv.

The announcement comes as officials meeting at the International Air Transport Association in Berlin said governments should take the lead on reviewing how risk assessments for airspace are made.

The issue of flying over conflict zones is in focus after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

VOA News / Jul. 23, 2014 08:14 KST