July 22, 2014 / 3:55 PM / 3 years ago

Delta, US Airways halt flights to Israel due to instability

July 22 (Reuters) - U.S. air carriers Delta Air Lines and US Airways, a unit of American Airlines Group , on Tuesday said they have halted flights to Israel to ensure passenger safety.

Delta said in a statement that it has suspended operations "until further notice" to and from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv and its hub at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. The Atlanta-based carrier said it was doing so in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration "to ensure the safety of our customers and employees."

Esther Castiel, who heads US Airways' operations in Tel Aviv, said the FAA had "issued a request not to travel to Israel. All U.S. carriers are stopping."

She added that it was not clear whether the travel halt was for one day or more.

The decision came after Hamas, the militant group that dominates in the Gaza Strip, and its allies fired more rockets into Israel, triggering sirens in Tel Aviv. One hit a town on the fringes of Ben-Gurion International Airport, lightly injuring two people, officials said.

United Airlines did not immediately return a request for comment. (Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta and Steven Scheer in Tel Aviv, editing by G Crosse)

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