SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned U.S. air carriers from flying into Tel Aviv’s airport due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The ban, starting at 12:15 p.m. EST Tuesday, will last at least 24 hours according to an FAA statement.
Aviation consultant Mike McCarron, who worked for years as the spokesman for SFO International Airport, said anyone booked on a U.S. carrier to fly to Tel Aviv’s flight is “pretty much cancelled”.
“They’ll try to re-book you on a later flight. The problem with that right now is this is the middle of summer travel season. There are a lot of people who go to Israel to Holy Land for summer vacation. There are just not a lot of seats available this time of year,” he said.
The FAA’s ban could be extended if events escalate. In their statement, the FAA said the rocket strike landed about one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport Tuesday morning.
While the FAA has no authority over carriers from other nations— European airlines; Air France, Lufthansa and Alitalia from Italy also have flight suspension in place due to the increasing violence.
The European Aviation Safety Agency says it “strongly recommends” that airlines refrain from operating flights to and from Tel Aviv.
Germany’s largest air carriers said Tuesday that they were suspending flights to Tel Aviv for 36 hours.
Lufthansa said it made the decision as a precaution to protect the safety of its passengers and crews, including those operated by its subsidiaries Germanwings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss.
Air France, the largest air carrier in that country, said it was suspending its flights until further notice for the same reason.
Air France said its security department continues to monitor local developments in Israel.
Palestinian militants have fired more than 2,000 rockets toward Israel. Several heading toward the area of Ben-Gurion Airport have been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.
Meanwhile, Israeli airstrikes have continued to bombard Gaza. According to CBS News at least 609 Palestinians and 29 Israelis have died in the conflict. The United Nations estimates 75 percent of the Palestinian deaths have been civilians, including dozens of children.
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