Airlines in the United States are preparing to start flying to Tel Aviv once again, after the Federal Aviation Administration lifted a 36-hour ban on flights to and from Ben Gurion International Airport.
On Tuesday afternoon, the FAA had ordered U.S. carriers to stop flying to and from Tel Aviv after a rocket landed near Israel’s largest airport. The agency said Wednesday afternoon it would continue the ban owing to the potential risks, but shortly before midnight the FAA announced that it was dropping the restrictions and said flights could resume.
“Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. 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 said in a statement.
The FAA said that it “will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport.”
United Airlines told The Washington Post that it planned to resume flights between Newark Liberty International Airport and Ben Gurion on Thursday, with the first flight scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
“Based on the notification from the FAA and our own review, we are resuming our flights in and out of Tel Aviv,” Luke Punzenberger, a spokesman for the airline, said in a statement.
American Airways, which merged with US Airways, had said on Wednesday it planned to resume US Airways service between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv once the FAA approved the resumption of service. It said Thursday afternoon that it would begin flying between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv later on Thursday.
“Nothing matters more than keeping our crews and customers safe, so this decision was made only after extensive review of information from our internal resources, the FAA and other government agencies, including our team on the ground in [Tel Aviv],” Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and adjust our plans if necessary.”
Delta Airlines, the first U.S. carrier to halt its flights between the United States and Israel, had not said on Thursday morning when it would resume flights. A spokeswoman said there was no update available yet regarding the airline’s plans.
While the FAA’s decisions regarding flights did not govern airlines based outside the United States, several airlines had followed suit and announced plans to halt flights to Ben Gurion.
The European Aviation Safety Agency said in a bulletin Tuesday that it “strongly recommends” that airlines avoid flying to or from Israel for the time being. But on Thursday morning, the EASA issued an updated bulletin dropping that language and instead recommending that carriers make decisions about flying to or from Tel Aviv based “on thorough risk assessments.”
This updated bulletin was based on information from Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority and came after consulting with the FAA, the EASA said.
This post has been updated to include the statement from American Airways. Last update: 1:41 p.m.