Air carriers in the United States are set to restart their flights to Israel after the Federal Aviation Administration grounded those flights due to the fighting in the country. All commercial airlines in the U.S. were instructed to cancel their flights to Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. All Delta, U.S. Airways and United Airlines flights traveling to Tel Aviv were cancelled. Thousands of travelers were stranded in airports, thwarted in their attempts to fly to or from the country.
The flight ban was sparked by security concerns in the country as a ground offensive by Israeli soldiers occurred in Gaza. A missile fired from Gaza landed about 1 mile from the airport shortly before the flight restrictions were announced. The F.A.A. claimed that the armed conflict was creating a hazardous situation in the country for commercial aircraft. A missile strike recently killed 298 people aboard a commercial Malaysia Airlines plane that was flying through eastern Ukraine, another conflict zone.
The continuing fighting between Israel and Gaza have increased the safety concerns of many commercial airlines around the world, including Air France and Germany’s two largest airlines. Regulators in Europe had also issued a recommendation to avoid flying to Israel. Israel protested the recommendations and restrictions, claiming that flights would not be affected by the conflict. Israeli carrier El Al did not halt its flights and continued service throughout the period of the flight bans.
The F.A.A. has now expressed confidence in the security precautions taken by Israel to assure the safety of flights into and out of the country’s biggest airport. In a statement announcing the lifting of the travel ban, the F.A.A. restated that its primary mission is ensuring the safety of people traveling on U.S. airlines and stated that the decision to lift the ban was made after a careful assessment of the current security situation in Israel. The agency reserved the right to take additional actions in the future if necessary. Nearly 800 Palestinians have died since the conflict began in earnest with the Israeli ground invasion.