When civilian flight paths collide with hostile territory

Jul 23, 2014

Federal Aviation Administration Bans All US Flights To Israel

Two people stand a the El Al Airlines ticket desk at Terminal 4 in John F. Kennedy Airport July 22, 2014 in New York City. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has halted all flights from the U.S. to Tel Aviv, Israel following a rocket attack near Ben Gurion International Airport.; Credit: Eric Thayer/Getty Images

American and European flights to Tel Aviv remain suspended after a rocket hit near Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport yesterday. Commercial airliners took the lead when Delta first rerouted a jet in mid flight.

The Federal Aviation Authority followed with a 24-hour ban on flights to Israel, which could be extended. The aviation community is trying to avoid a repeat of last week’s tragedy that saw a Malaysia Airlines civilian jet downed by a missile over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

According to Haaretz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly has asked Secretary John Kerry for help in reversing the FAA flight ban, but would commercial airliners take the risk?

What about consumers – what will assure people it’s safe to fly into the Middle East conflict? Going forward, will consumers want to know more about flight paths? Should they? And are travellers willing to fly with Malaysia Airlines after double disasters? Or  do the notorious superstitions around air travel mean that business is doomed?


John McGraw, Former FAA Flight Standards Services Deputy Director; founder and principal of John McGraw Aerospace Consulting based in Virginia

Patrick Smith, commercial airline pilot; Author “Cockpit Confidential and columnist found at


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