FAA Cancels Flights to, from Israel for 24 Hours

Update, 7/23, 9:40 a.m.: Following the FAA's decision to ground U.S.-based flights to and from Israel, the BBC is reporting that the European
Aviation Safety Agency
(EASA) said it "strongly recommends" that airlines should avoid flying to and from Tel Aviv.

Yesterday, Lufthansa and its subsidiaries (including Swiss, Germanwings and Austrian Airlines) suspended flights to Israel for two days. KLM and
Air France also said they had suspended flights ahead of the EASA's advisory. 

EasyJet, Air Canada, and Alitalia also said they had cancelled flights.

For American-based flights, both Delta and United have reportedly suspended operations in Israel "for the near future." This suspension is expected to go beyond the FAA's 24-hr period. U.S. Airways, meanwhile, is still weighing its options.

Update, 2:35 p.m.: The New York Times is now reporting that at least three European airlines — Air France, Lufthansa and KLM — have canceled flights to and from Tel Aviv. Others appeared to still be operating their flights, including British Airways, which said it “continues to operate as normal” and was monitoring the situation closely. El Al, the Israeli national carrier, kept flying as usual.

The New York Times is reporting that the Federal Aviation Administration has ordered U.S.-based airlines not to fly to Israel for the next 24 hours. This decision follows a rocket falling near Ben-Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv earlier today, and in the long-term wake of Thursday's Malaysia Airlines disaster, which resulted in the loss of nearly 300 lives when a plane flew over territory in conflict. 

According to the paper, all three United States carriers with service to Israel – Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways – have temporarily suspended their flights. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a Delta Boeing 747 from New York was flying over the Mediterranean headed for Tel Aviv on Tuesday when it turned around and flew to Paris instead. Flight 468 had 273 passengers and 17 crew on board. 

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United is suspending its two daily Tel Aviv flights until further notice. One of its planes left Tel Aviv with passengers earlier Tuesday and the second is still on the ground, with plans in the works to remove it. American Airlines canceled its Philadelphia-Tel Aviv flight that was scheduled to depart Tuesday night, and dropped the Tel Aviv-Philadelphia flight that was supposed to depart from Israel earlier Tuesday. American said the crew will ferry it out without passengers because the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will not let it take off with passengers on board. The airport's website, which has limited access due to overwhelming demand, lists the following announcements for some U.S.-bound flights:

European airlines, meanwhile, are reportedly "monitoring the situation," but are still flying. Lufthansa's flights are not affected, but the airline announced that it would "monitor the situation and may cancel flights depending on the situation on the ground." British Airways is also still operating as scheduled.

As the Times noted, the FAA's decision highlighted the impact of the conflict in the Gaza Strip on the Israeli economy at the height of the summer tourism season.