FAA Bans Flights To Israel After Rocket Attack Near Airport
CHARLOTTE, NC - The Federal Aviation Administration has banned US carriers from flying to Israel for at least 24 hours after a rocket attack near the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
There are no direct flights to Israel from Charlotte, but many locals travel there with their church groups or organizations.
Sue Worrel, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Charlotte, flew back to Charlotte from Israel Monday night after spending eight days in the country.
"I had no qualms or reservations going over there. I'm delighted that I went, and I would be back there in a moment's notice if the opportunity presented itself," said Worrel.
Worrel stands by the Israel Airport Authority, which says the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv is safe.
"Israel is one of the best security and defense systems in the world, and if they felt the need to shut down their airport, they would have shut down their airport," said Worrel.
On Tuesday, the FAA banned US Airlines from flying to Tel Aviv for 24 hours after a rocket landed just one mile from the airport.
"It seems like a volatile area right now. It's not somewhere you would go even for religious reasons at this point," said Ray Gates, a South Charlotte resident.
Delta Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways have all suspended their flights.
"We've got a lot of people who like to travel there. We're in the height of the tourist season and no one wants to take any chances with the stray military missile going in the wrong direction," said Nancy Cutter, founder of Court Travel Ltd.
As the conflict between Israel and Hamas rages on, the U.S. State Department is telling Americans not to travel to Israel and the West Bank.
The FAA is monitoring what's happening in the Middle East to determine if the ban will be extended.
"If the situation persists, then I know a lot of tour companies will offer clients the ability to re-book when the situation becomes more stable," said Cutter.
The FAA will decide by noon on Wednesday whether to extend the 24-hour ban.
In the meantime, several European Airlines have voluntary issued flight bans to Israel.