Delta makes decision independently of US Federal Aviation Administration, which is set to decide later on Wednesday whether it will lift ban on American flights to region.
Germany’s Lufthansa on Wednesday suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv for an additional 24 hours. The decision also applies to Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines.
“At the present time no adequate authoritative new information is available that would justify a resumption of flights. In close coordination with the responsible authorities Lufthansa is continually evaluating the safety situation for its total flight network,” the company said.
On Tuesday, it suspended flights for 36 hours following a decision by America’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to suspend travel to and from Israel. A rocket had fallen in a house in Yehud, a residential area near the airport, earlier in the day.
Delta Air Lines will also extend its suspension of flights to Israel on Wednesday amid hostilities between Israel and the militant group Hamas, its chief executive said on CNBC.
“Today … we are not flying to Israel,” Delta CEO Richard Anderson said in an interview with CNBC.
His comments come a day after air carriers in the United States and Europe halted flights to Tel Aviv as turmoil in Israel and the Gaza Strip intensified.
US Airways canceled its flights to and from Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday night, saying it would resume air operations if the FAA removes its ban.
The FAA on Tuesday said it told US carriers they were prohibited from flying to or from Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for up to 24 hours, citing “the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza.”
On Tuesday a rocket hit a house in the metropolitan Tel Aviv area for the first time during the current conflict.
Anderson said Delta made its “decision wholly independent” of the FAA.
“We will not allow a flight to be dispatched over Iran, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan or North Korea,” he told CNBC. “We make this decision wholly independent of any geopolitical or regulatory mandate.”
White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken on Wednesday said he had not heard from the FAA yet about whether it would lift the ban or any other details about its plan for flights in the region.
“They’ve been working very closely with Israeli authorities overnight to see if the concerns raised yesterday could be alleviated and they could lift the notice but I haven’t heard from them this morning,” Blinken told CNN in an interview.
Polish state airline LOT also suspended its flights to Israel from Warsaw until Monday because of concern for passengers’ safety, the airline’s spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
“This is caused by the tense situation in the region,” LOT added in a statement. “The connection will be re-established as soon as possible and when we are sure that our operations are hundred percent safe.”
Israel has rejected the decision to bar flights to its airport.
“Our airport is safe. Our airport is secure. And we hope the American carriers will be flying to Israel soon,” Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said in an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday.
The decision to halt flights to Israel follows the downing last week of a Malaysia Airlines jet over Ukraine with nearly 300 aboard.
via The Jerusalem Post