FAA Extends Israel Airlift Ban; Some International Airlines Continue Flying

The United States Federal Aviation Authority has issued another Notice to Airmen, extending yesterday's ban on U.S.-based flights to and from Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport for "up-to-an-additional-24-hours" while the FAA continues to monitor and evaluate the situation. Some international airlines, including Lufthansa and its subsidiaries, have also extended their plans to avoid the airport. The BBC noted that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it "strongly recommends" that airlines should avoid operating to and from Tel Aviv.

In a statement, the FAA said that it was "working closely with the Government of Israel" to review "significant new information they have provided and determine whether potential risks to U.S. civil aviation are mitigated so the agency can resolve concerns as quickly as possible."

The agency instituted the flight ban yesterday after a rocket strike landed approximately one mile from the airport.

On its website, the FAA emphasized that the NOTAM applies only to U.S. operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport. "The agency’s responsibility is to act with an abundance of caution in protecting those traveling on U.S. airlines," it stated.

RELATED: FAA Cancels Flights to, from Israel for 24 Hours

This ban follows Monday's advisory from the U.S. State Department that American citizens should "consider deferring non-essential travel to Israel" as a result of the conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Just as the flight ban was extended, Consul Haim Gutin, Israel tourism commissioner, North & South America, issued a statement emphasizing that "hotels, restaurants, tourist sites and holy places are open as usual." 
Gutin also noted that British Airways, El Al Israel Airlines, Arkia Israel Airlines and Israir are continuing to fly to Israel as scheduled, and that he expects all Israeli airlines to add additional flights to absorb passengers from cancelled flights.