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In response to FAA travel ban on Tel Aviv airport, Israel reopens southern airport

Israel said it would reopen Ovda Airport in the south in order to accommodate commercial flights wishing to avoid Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport.
By JC Finley   |   July 23, 2014 at 8:52 AM   |   Comments

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TEL AVIV, Israel, July 23 (UPI) -- In response to a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration decision to ban American carriers from flying to or from Israel's Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion International Airport, the Israeli government said it would reopen another airport in the country's south.

Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced that Ovda Airport in the southern town of Eilat, near the Egyptian border, would be reopened at 12:00 p.m. local time on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the FAA ordered all American carriers to cancel their flights to and from Ben Gurion for a period of 24 hours. "The notice," the FAA explained, "was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning of July 22, 2014."

It is unclear whether the FAA will amend its decision to allow commercial U.S. carriers to fly into Ovda Airport.

Prior to the FAA ruling, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated travel warning for Israel on Tuesday, advising against non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank.

"The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank and reaffirms the longstanding strong warning to U.S. citizens against any travel to the Gaza Strip."

Israel and Hamas have been engaged in a deadly exchange of airstrikes for more than two weeks.

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