El Al to cancel Eilat flights over security concerns

JERUSALEM (JTA) – El Al Airlines said it will cancel its day flights to Eilat beginning at the end of the week over safety concerns.

The airline in a statement said its flights from Ben Gurion International Airport will be halted as of Thursday and that a new flight path required by the Civil Aviation Authority does not meet international aviation safety standards.

Two Israeli domestic airlines, Israir and Arkia, have switched to the new flight path and will still fly to Eilat.

The El Al announcement comes a week after the airline reinstated flights to Eilat. It had canceled the flights a week earlier over the flight path dispute and been given permission to continue using the old route.

On Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Authority rejected an El Al request to use the old flight path to Eilat.

“The professional conclusion is that the new flight pattern does not allow an adequate level of safety of civil aviation flights as is acceptable by El Al or by airports worldwide,” El Al said in a statement.

Among the safety issues of concern to El Al is a limited approach to the runway for landing.

Last month, Israeli authorities ordered the closure of Eilat’s airport based on a tip from Egyptian security services that a radical Muslim terrorist cell planned to launch midrange missiles at the airport.

In April, two long-range rockets fired from the Sinai Desert by an Islamist terrorist group hit Eilat.

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