Turkey's national carrier has extended its suspension of direct flights to Tel Aviv for another day for security reasons due to the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas, the communications minister said on Wednesday, according to AFP.
"We had halted the flights to Israel yesterday, now we decided to extend the suspension for another 24 hours because the risk continues," Lutfi Elvan was quoted as having told reporters.
Major airlines shunned Israel for a second day on Wednesday amid fears that rocket fire from Gaza could endanger flights into Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport, AFP reports, after European airlines followed the FAA's extension on a ban on flights to Israel.
In Washington, officials renewed a formal ban on American flights to Israel until 16:15 GMT on Thursday, and around the world many other airlines took their own precautions.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday that the U.S. ban on flights to Israel was solely due to safety concerns.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the FAA "continues to monitor and evaluate the situation.”
In the wake of the ban, former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg flew to Tel Aviv on Wednesday in an effort to “show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel.”
Bloomberg, echoing comments made by the Israel Government, said the decision to impose a ban was a victory for the terrorists. “Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely,” said Bloomberg.
“The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US airlines to fly to Israel.”