NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — United Airlines will be the first U.S. carrier to resume flights to Israel after a two-day hiatus caused by combat in the Gaza Strip.
United says it will resume service to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv with a 4:45 p.m. flight from Newark Liberty International Airport. A second United flight will leave Newark at 10:50 p.m. eastern.
The decision comes hours after the Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel, which the agency had imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets.
Before deciding to lift the restrictions, the FAA worked with the federal government to assess security situation in Israel and reviewed new information and measures taken by the Israeli government to protect commercial planes.
“The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions as necessary,” the FAA said.
The ban had been in effect since Tuesday, when a Hamas rocket landed within a mile of the Ben Gurion Airport. The directive, which was extended Wednesday, applied only to U.S. carriers.
Passengers WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell spoke with flying out of Newark Liberty International Airport showed no hesitation about flying to Israel.
“I don’t think there is any significant danger right to tourists or citizens more so than before,” Sarah Fax said, who grew up in Boston but now lives in Israel. “Their heart was in the right place, they were trying to protect their citizens, but it was overreacting.”
“To leave a place that’s special to you, that you love, that you feel connected to, when it’s being attacked is not easy,” Hindy Strauss said, who also lives in Israel.