US, European carries halt flighs to, from IsraelAirline officials cite security concerns as cause for 'temporary' move after Gaza rocket lands near airport
The national aviation authority of the United States ordered Tuesday all US airline carriers to cancel their scheduled flights to and from Israel for 24 hours after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip landed in open area adjacent to the Ben Gurion airport in central Israel.
A number of major European carriers, such as Air France and Germany's Lufthansa, have followed suit, announcing the cancellation of all flights to and from the country shortly on the heels of the Federal Aviation Administration directive.
The French flag carrier said it was suspending service "until further notice."
"We have cancelled our flight to Tel Aviv as a precaution because we can't secure passengers' safety," the spokeswoman of the Dutch carrier KLM was quoted by KLM as saying. "We'll review the situation every day."
Earlier Tuesday major US airline carriers American Airlines, Delta Airlines and US AIR announced they cancelled their flights to the country before the statement by the FAA was circulated; another major US airline flying to Israel, United Airlines, announced its flights will proceed as scheduled.
"The FAA immediately notified US carriers when the agency learned of the rocket strike and informed them that the agency was finalizing a NOTAM [Notice to Airmen]," the statement read.
"The FAA will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation. Updated instructions will be provided to U.S. airlines as soon as conditions permit, but no later than 24 hours from the time the NOTAM went into force."
Delta issued a statement saying it had diverted a flight bound for Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport to Paris on Tuesday after "reports of a rocket or associated debris near the airport in Tel Aviv."
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