British Airways Defies Tel Aviv Flight Ban; US Airways to Resume Flights on Thursday
British Airways on Wednesday said it would continue its regularly scheduled flights to Tel Aviv, defying a recommendation from the European Aviation Safety Agency and a ban by the U.S. FAA to suspend flights because of Hamas rocket fire near the Ben Gurion International Airport, Bloomberg News reported.
While most international carriers announced they would suspend flights during the FAA 24-hour ban, U.S. Airways on Wednesday said that two flights scheduled for Tel Aviv for later tonight have already been rescheduled for Thursday, AFP reported.
While defenders of the U.S. decision pointed to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 last week over Ukraine as, “heightening sensitivity over aviation safety above warzones,” in the words of AFP, others, including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, protested the decision.
On Tuesday evening, Bloomberg, who was awarded Israel’s Genesis Prize, boarded an El Al flight from New York in solidarity with the Jewish state.
Bloomberg said, “This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel. Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely. The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit U.S. airlines to fly to Israel.”
Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz on Tuesday described the FAA ban as “a prize to terror.”