US threatens to bar El Al flights from landing unless Israel allows US airlines to operate

US gives Israel ultimatum, threatening to bar El Al from landing in US if Israel doesn't allow US airlines to fly into Tel Aviv.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

El Al plane
El Al plane
Photo: ISTOCK

The US aviation authorities are demanding that Israel find a solution which will allow its airlines to take part in the emergency flights, Channel 12 News reported Saturday night.

If Israel refuses to do so, El Al flights will be barred from landing in the US, the report said.

According to the report, Israel must find a solution by the end of the week, and there is concern that Britain will take a similar step.

According to the US complaint, only El AL was granted permission to continue flying into Israel after its border was closed to flights. As a result, the Biden administration has accused Israel of violating the freedoms of the air and creating a crisis with the new administration, demanding that Israel change its policy, Channel 12 News added.

Last week, government sources confirmed that the US Department of Transportation officially complained about the issue to its Israeli counterpart. According to the complaint, the current arrangement violates the aviation agreement between the US and Israel.

Israel has been operating emergency flights as well as flights to Dubai, and its El Al airline won the Civil Aviation Authority's bid to operate the flights. The country's Israir airline has been operating rescue flights into and out of Frankfurt.

Meanwhile Delta and United Airlines, both US carriers have been barred along with other airlines from operating passenger flights into and out of Tel Aviv.

The foreign airlines, including US airlines, are currently allowed to fly cargo flights into and out of Israel.

Speaking to CNN, a Delta Air Lines spokesperson said: "Delta is not currently operating passenger services between Israel and the United States because of the ongoing government restrictions. Delta's application for authority to operate flights to repatriate people in both directions was denied by the government of Israel. Delta is continuing to operate its cargo operations between the US and Israel."

A spokeswoman for United told CNN that the airline is operating regular flights to Tel Aviv from both Newark and San Francisco, but only as a cargo service.

The US Department of Transportation did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

However, an Israeli official told CNN that the decision to bar US carriers was not intended to harm those airlines, but rather to contain the spread of coronavirus. The issue will end when Israel reopens its airports, and is currently under discussion, he added.

On Sunday, the Transportation Ministry will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the next steps in handling the ultimatums.



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