Europe won’t blacklist Israeli airlines


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli airlines will not be blacklisted in Europe.

The European Aviation Safety Agency, which last month sent the Israel Civil Aviation Authority an e-mail warning that if its flight safety record did not improve it would blacklist the country’s national airlines, announced March 26 that it would not downgrade the security ratings of El Al, Arkia, Israir and Sun d’Or.

The decision means the airlines can continue to land at European airports.

The Israeli authority also presented the European agency with a plan to be reinstated to the American category 1 safety rating. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Israel’s air-safety system to a third-world level last December. The European warning came on the heels of the FAA’s decision to downgrade.

Meanwhile, Ben Gurion International Airport was named top Middle East airport for the second year in a row in an annual survey by the Geneva-based Airports Council International. The survey ranks airports based on more than 30 aspects of service voted on by travelers.

Several airlines also announced new services to Israel. US Airways will offer new direct service between Philadelphia and Ben Gurion beginning July 2. British Airways is adding a new flight to its Tel Aviv-London route beginning June 4.

Meanwhile, El Al will launch a new route to Sao Paolo, Brazil, from Ben Gurion beginning May 2.

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