In a sign of increased caution about flying near combat zones, U.S. and European airlines halted flights to Israel on Tuesday after a rocket landed near Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines suspended service between the U.S. and Israel indefinitely. US Airways scrapped its one flight to Tel Aviv Tuesday. Germany’s Lufthansa and Air France also suspended flights. The actions come days after a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over eastern Ukraine with 298 people on board.
It’s really forcing every carrier, every business jet operator to do their own due diligence, do their own risk assessment, given the geopolitical situation.
Robert Mann, aviation consultant
Following the action by the U.S. airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibited U.S. airlines from flying to the Tel Aviv airport for 24 hours. The Israelis are fighting Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip in the third war in just over 5 years. Israeli police confirmed that a rocket from Gaza landed in an area near the airport. Police spokeswomen Luba Samri said Tuesday’s rocket landing was the closest to the airport since fighting began on July 8.
I’m sure it is human concern as well … but I think [the airlines] feel it is wise to err on the side of caution because it is their burden to prove they are doing everything possible to avoid injuries and deaths.
Jonathan Reiter, New York aviation-accident attorney