Aviation Expert: FAA Made Mistake in Issuing Israel Flight Ban

Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 04:19 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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Though well-intentioned, the Federal Aviation Administration erred in issuing a ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel, aviation expert David Fuscus tells Newsmax TV.

"The FAA made a mistake, an understandable mistake, when they put the ban on," he said Thursday on "America's Forum," explaining the agency was "very skittish because of the downing of the aircraft in the Ukraine. A missile came close to the airport in Israel, and they put the ban on."

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Enacted Tuesday after a Hamas-fired missile landed a mile from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, the incident is not concerning to aviation safety because Israel’s Iron Dome mobile missile defense system tracks every missile and intercepts rockets aimed at populated areas, according to Fuscus.

The Israelis knew the missile was heading to a field and would not injure people or property, so the decision was made to let it land.

"The optics of doing that when it was a mile from the airport were pretty bad, no question about it, but it wasn't really a safety issue," he said. "The FAA just had to be convinced and to get more information on just the security systems that the Israelis have in place."

After investigation, the FAA lifted the ban at 11:45 p.m. EDT Wednesday. Even so, individual airlines will decide whether to resume flights.

"My guess is that within a matter of a day or two days that they'll start their flights back up," Fuscus predicted.

Several European airlines have extended cancellations, which Fuscus attributes to a combination of recent airplane tragedies and conflict around the globe.

Malaysia Airlines has suffered two deadly incidents, the March disappearance of a jet that has yet to be found, and last week’s tragic takedown by a surface-to-air missile near Ukraine. On Wednesday, a turbo-prop plane crashed on the Penghu Islands in Taiwan, killing 51 people.

An Air Algerie flight carrying 110 passengers on board disappeared Thursday en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. An airline official has said the plane crashed, but would not provide any details about what transpired on the jet’s route. The official also declined to be identified.

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