FAA closes air route from US to Israel for 24 hours

FAA closes air routes from US to Israel

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday prohibited U.S. airlines from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours after a Hamas rocket exploded nearby. Some major U.S. airlines had already independently canceled flights to Ben Gurion Airport.

The rocket landed about a mile from the airport outside Tel Aviv, the FAA said. It said it will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation, and that updated instructions will be provided to U.S. airlines "as soon as conditions permit, but no later than 24 hours" from the time the directive went into force at 12:15 p.m. ET.

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Airlines and passengers are growing more anxious about safety since a Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down over Ukraine last week, killing all 298 people aboard.

Delta Air Lines previously canceled all flights to Israel until further notice. A Delta Boeing 747 from New York was flying over the Mediterranean headed for Ben Gurion on Tuesday when it turned around and flew to Paris. Flight 468 had 273 passengers and 17 crew on board.

Radar tweet

Passengers at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel.
Jack Guez | AFP | Getty Images

US Airways told NBC News it canceled Tuesday flights to Ben Gurion from Philadelphia. American Airlines said in a statement that it had canceled Tuesday flights between Philadelphia and Ben Gurion "in response to security concerns." American said it will "continue to monitor the situation."

American Airlines tweet

United Airlines told NBC it was suspending operations in Tel Aviv "until further notice."

Though the FAA decision applied only to U.S. airlines, some European carriers chose to cancel flights as well. Air-France, Germany's Lufthansa and Dutch airliner KLM all stopped flights on Tuesday.

Norwegian Air, Scandinavian Airlines and Germany's Air Berlin, also canceled flights to Israel.

Israel's Ministry of Transportation is telling airlines the airport is safe for take off and landing, a spokesman for Ben Gurion Aiport told NBC.

He added that Israel's transportation minister is encouraging American airlines to return to their normal flight schedule.

— By CNBC with wires