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US threatens to halt Israeli planes landing in America: report

Delta currently flies cargo to Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 February, 2021

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The United States has filed a complaint with Israel after it closed its borders to US civilian flights.
The US has allegedly threatend to stop all Israeli planes from landing on American soil after Tel Aviv failed to keep up with its aviation agreements, Israeli Channel 12 reported.

The US department of transportation filed a complaint with Israel over what it called "unfair treatment" of airlines, after Tel Aviv closed Ben Gurion Airport to US flights but allowed its own El Al airlines to continue operations.

Israel had initially closed air traffic at the end of January for a week to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The closure, which the US called "unfair", was then extended until 20 February, and may be extended for longer.

US airlines Delta and United can still fly to Israel, but only as cargo service.

"Delta is not currently operating passenger services between Israel and the United States because of the ongoing government restrictions," a spokesman for Delta Air Lines told CNN.

"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 spokesperson for United confirmed it was also operating only cargo flights to Tel Aviv.

An Israeli spokesperson claimed that barring US flights was a precautionary measure against coronavirus and was not intended to damage US airlines.

Israel and the US are parties to the Open Skies Agreement, which calls for "fair and equal opportunity" for both parties to compete in providing international flights.

All flight carriers, with the exception of Israel's El Al, have been barred from entering the US, according to Channel 12.

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