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US lifts ban on flights to Israeli airport

Al-Akhbar | July 24, 2014

US airlines lifted a flight ban to Israel’s international airport just hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah and returned to Cairo to continue pushing regional efforts to ink a ceasefire.

The US national aviation agency had imposed the restriction on Tuesday after a rocket hit a house very close to the runways, in a move mirrored by Europe.

It was renewed late on Wednesday, prompting Hamas to hail the suspension of Tel Aviv flights as a “great victory for the resistance.”

Shortly afterwards, the US agency rescinded the move.

“The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has lifted its restrictions on US airline flights into and out of Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport,” it said, while warning the situation was still “very fluid.” There was no immediate word on whether European airlines would follow suit.

Russia’s second-largest airline Transaero said Thursday it was also resuming flights to Israel.

“As of today, Transaero will operate all services between Russia and Israel according to schedule,” the company said in statement.

The wave of cancellations by foreign airlines emptied Israel’s usually bustling international gateway and hurt its hi-tech economy at the height of summer tourist season. It prompted an appeal by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for Washington to intervene.

The FAA said that after reviewing the security situation it had cancelled the ban late on Wednesday. US Airways, a unit of American Airlines Group Inc, said on Thursday it was resuming its non-stop Tel Aviv to Philadelphia service.

Israel predicted other U.S. airlines would follow suit within hours, though European carriers could take longer. Germany’s Lufthansa and Air Berlin said their suspension of flights to Tel Aviv would continue to Friday.

“The Europeans did not really deliberate over this, but acted more as a follow-up to the American decision,” said Gadi Regev, chief of staff for Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority.

A number of European flights have been diverted to Cyprus’s Larnaca airport for onward travel to Ben Gurion on Israeli carriers.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

July 24, 2014 - Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , ,

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