FAA lifts U.S. flight restrictions for Tel Aviv

FAA lifts U.S. flight restrictions for Tel Aviv
The El Al Airlines ticket desk at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York is all but abandoned on July 22, as the FAA had barred flights to and from Tel Aviv. The restriction has now been lifted. (Eric Thayer / Getty Images)

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday night lifted its ban on U.S. flights to and from Tel Aviv.

The decision was made after the U.S. government determined that Israel had proper measures in place to "mitigate potential risks to civil aviation" during the ongoing hostilities in and around the Gaza Strip, according to an FAA news release.

The FAA "will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation ... and take additional actions, as necessary," according to the release.  

The FAA ban was imposed Tuesday after a rocket fired from Gaza struck a home about a mile from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport, apparently circumventing Israel's Iron Dome missile-defense system.

The ban was greeted with criticism from Israel, where tourism from the United States is a key driver of the economy, especially in the summer. A cutoff of flights to the U.S. was also seen as an important psychological setback in a country that feels isolated in a region where it is surrounded by adversaries.

Israeli newspapers said tens of thousands of Israelis were stranded overseas and thousands of tourists unable to leave Israel as planned. Most major European airlines also canceled their flights, though Israel's national airline, El Al, and some international carriers continued to fly.

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