U.S. Flights to Israel Now Lifted, Flights To and From Tel Aviv Resume – FAA

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | July 24, 2014 3:49 PM EST

The U.S.' Federal Aviation Administration has lifted a ban that barred U.S. airlines from traveling to and from Ben Gurion International Airport. The new directive took effect as of 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

REUTERS/Siegfried Modola
Passengers and airline staff stand near a check-in desk of an airline that cancelled its flight out of Tel Aviv at Ben Gurion International airport July 22, 2014. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned U.S. carriers from flying to or from Ben Gurion International Airport, after a rocket fired from Gaza struck near the airport's fringes, injuring two people. European airlines including Germany's Lufthansa, Air France and Dutch airline KLM said they were halting flights there too. Israel's flagship carrier El Al continued flights as usual. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola (ISRAEL - Tags: CONFLICT POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TRANSPORT)

The FAA had imposed the earlier restrictions on American airlines following Tuesday's incident when a Hamas rocket landed within a mile of the airport.

"Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation," the agency said in a statement.

It added it "will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport."

Dozens of flights and hundreds of passengers were effected the day the ban was imposed.

Apart from American airlines US Airways, Delta and United Airlines, other airlines also joined in the fray, suspending their flight operations to beleaguered country, including Air Canada, Lufthansa, German Wings and Air France.

United Airlines earlier said the suspension will be in effect "until further notice."

"We will continue to suspend flying to and from Tel Aviv consistent with the FAA directive and will continue to coordinate with the FAA to ensure the safety of our customers and employees," United said in a statement after the FAA extended the prohibition.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Hamas will see the ban as a victory in their favour.

"This is a real game changer," Daniel Nisman, president of the Levantine Group, a geopolitical risk and research consultancy, told Washington Post. "If anything, the world will now see how dangerous Hamas really is," he said, adding that Hamas can now boast of doing "something that no other Arab army has been able to do - target all Israeli cities and hit the airport."

Ben Gurion International Airport is Israel's largest airport.

Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, blasted the FAA's decision when it handed down the flight suspension.

"The fact that one rocket falls far away from this airport, a mile away, doesn't mean you should shut down air traffic into a country and paralyze the country," he told CNN.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Siegfried Modola / )
Passengers and airline staff stand near a check-in desk of an airline that cancelled its flight out of Tel Aviv at Ben Gurion International airport July 22, 2014. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned U.S. carriers from flying to or from Ben Gurion International Airport, after a rocket fired from Gaza struck near the airport's fringes, injuring two people. European airlines including Germany's Lufthansa, Air France and Dutch airline KLM said they were halting flights there too. Israel's flagship carrier El Al continued flights as usual. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola (ISRAEL - Tags: CONFLICT POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TRANSPORT)
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