Middle East

As Rockets Encroach, Israel's Main Airport Sees Canceled U.S. Flights

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U.S. airlines have canceled flights to Israel after reports of Hamas rockets landing near Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv.


This morning outside Tel Aviv, a rocket from Gaza landed near Ben Gurion International Airport. That prompted the FAA to tell U.S. carriers not to fly into Tel Aviv. And several airlines canceled flights to Israel on their own, as NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: The airlines were led by Delta, which diverted a Tel Aviv-bound flight this morning to Paris. The Boeing 747 originated at JFK airport in New York and carried 273 passengers and 17 crew. The airline says it has suspended service to Ben Gurion until further notice. Other U.S. airlines, including United and U.S. Airways, followed suit. The FAA announced its so-called notice to airmen barring U.S. flights soon thereafter. It cited a rocket strike that landed approximately a mile from the airport this morning. Airline analyst Robert Mann says after the shoot-down of a Malaysian Airline jet over Ukraine last week, the move comes as no surprise.

ROBERT MANN: I think the situation in Ukraine clearly made the issue more acute in many carriers' minds. But the facts of rocket fire near the airport in Tel Aviv certainly would've been sufficient my view.

NAYLOR: Foreign carriers, including Lufthansa and Air France, have also suspended their service to Ben Gurion. An official in Israel criticized the airline saying it is safe to fly to Israel. The FAA says its ban on flights will last 24 hours and will be reviewed tomorrow. Brian Naylor, NPR News, Washington.

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