FAA suspending U.S. flights to Tel Aviv

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

WASHINGTON (WWLP) — The Federal Aviation Administration told U.S. airlines they are prohibited from flying to the Tel Aviv airport in Israel after a Hamas rocket exploded nearby.

All U.S. flights scheduled to take off for Tel Aviv, Israel Wednesday morning will stay grounded as the fight between Israel and Palestine continues in Gaza.

Presidential Advisor Ben Rhodes said “Some of the rockets that Hamas is firing are coming too close for comfort for those American air carriers.”

Shortly after the strike, at 12:15 Eastern, the Federal Aviation Administration decided to prohibit all U.S. airlines from flying into and out of Tel Aviv for at least 24 hours. Several European airlines have also suspended service to Israel.

Israeli transportation officials want the FAA to reconsider the ban. They said Israel is safe. And Israelis spending the summer here in western Massachusetts told 22News they agree.

Inbar Gueta is working as a camp counselor in Springfield. She said “I have a family in Israel. I have a brother in the army so I worry. But I know the government, the army, everyone is doing amazing work to protect every citizen in Israel. Life in Israel is going on and people can go visit Israel.”

Israeli Airline El Al is flying into and out of Tel Aviv.

Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Western Mass. Meredith Dragon just returned from her trip. She told 22News “We flew without incident, so it’s a shame for people who made plans that they can’t go. Hopefully the ban will be lifted when there’s a sense that things are as they should be.”

She’s also concerned about the tourism industry in Israel. She said “Israel is a country that prides itself on its security in Israel and around the world. Israel has not grounded its national airline El Al. The flights are taking off and I’m sure that if there are significant security issues they’ll do the same for citizens.”

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