Major US airliner, Delta, extends flight ban on Israel

Major US airliner, Delta, extends flight ban on Israel

Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:20PM GMT

Chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines Richard Anderson says the American airliner will extend its ban on flights to Israel amid Tel Aviv’s deadly war on the Gaza Strip.

“Today … we are not flying to Israel,” Anderson said on Wednesday in an interview with CNBC, adding that Delta has made the decision “independent” of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“We make this decision wholly independent of any geopolitical or regulatory mandate.”

On Tuesday, the FAA prohibited all American aircraft from flying to or from Israel for at least 24 hours. The US flights regulatory agency cited security concerns for its decision.

Meanwhile, German airline Lufthansa On Wednesday also announced its decision to extend the suspension on flights to Israel for another day.

Other American and European airlines including American Airlines Group Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc., Air France, Lufthansa and KLM said on Tuesday that they have shelved their flights to Israel.

The decisions sparked anger in Tel Aviv where Israeli transport minister, Yisrael Katz, reacted furiously. He argued that the move benefits Palestinian resistance groups that are fighting against the Israeli armys.

“There is no reason for these companies to stop flights. They have given a prize to terror.”

The White House deputy national security adviser said he has no idea whether the FAA would lift or extend its ban on flights to and from Israel.

“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,” Tony Blinken said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

The Israeli military has been carrying out a lethal offensive against the residents of the Gaza Strip since July 8. The Israeli war has so far left over 650 Palestinians killed and injured more than 4,200 others. According to UN figures, most of the Palestinian victims are civilians.

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