The Federal Aviation Administration extended its prohibition today against U.S. flights to Israel’s Tel Aviv airport for a second day.
Analysts say the ban is a blow to tourism, but one that could be overcome once the ban is lifted.
The FAA will decide by midday Thursday whether to extend the ban, after a rocket landed Tuesday within a mile of Ben Gurion International Airport. The agency is working closely with Israel to review potential risks and threats and how they are mitigated.
“We’re continuing to monitor the situation in Israel and other parts of the world. Safety is the very first priority for DOT, for FAA,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “As the situation continues to evolve, we will adjust our guidance accordingly.”
The European Aviation Safety Agency on Tuesday “strongly” recommended that airlines refrain from flying there. Air France has suspended flights “until further notice,” and Lufthansa canceled Thursday flights.
Even after FAA lifts its ban, airlines must decide when to resume flights. Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, which diverted a flight Tuesday headed from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Tel Aviv, told CNBC the airline made its decision before the FAA acted.
“We have a much higher duty of care, and we’ve got to make the right decisions for the flight attendants, customers and pilots on our flights,” Anderson said.
Israeli airport and tourism officials insist that planes can land safely. British Airways and El Al are among airlines still flying into Tel Aviv.