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FAA Extends Ban On Flights To Tel Aviv For Another 24 Hours

The Federal Aviation Administration has extended its ban on U.S. flights to and from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel.

As we reported, the agency first issued a ban Tuesday after a rocket landed about a mile from the airport. In a statement today, the FAA said:

"The agency is working closely with the Government of Israel to review the 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 ban applies only to U.S. operators, so airlines such as Israel's El Al can continue flying to the region.

To that end, it's worth noting that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Israel today to protest the ban.

"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," Bloomberg said in a statement before the flight, according to CNN. "Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely."

He went on to call the restrictions "a mistake" that hand "Hamas an undeserved victory."

Many international airlines followed the Americans' lead yesterday.

Update at 1:19 p.m. ET. European Carriers Follow Suit:

The AP reports:

"Lufthansa and Air Berlin extended their cancellations through Thursday, and Air France said it was suspending its flights 'until further notice.'

"The European Aviation Safety Agency late Tuesday said it 'strongly recommends' that airlines refrain from operating flights to and from Tel Aviv. It said it would 'monitor the situation and advise on any update as the situation develops.' "

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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