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American Airlines to End Flights to Israel

American Airlines, the world’s largest airline carrier, has announced that it will service its last U.S. Airways flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv on January 4, 2016.

The airline announced the decision in its employee newsletter this week. It said that the PHL-TLV route has not been profitable over the last six years and that they lost $20 million in the past year alone.

U.S. Airways inaugurated the short-lived daily service to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2009, which was inherited by American Airlines following their 2013 merger.

According to The Jewish Press, Chaka Fattah (D-PA) said he hopes to work with American Airlines to find an “alternative solution to canceling the route” altogether and seeing to other options to keep the flight operating. Fattah reportedly issued this statement following the cancellation announcement:

I am strongly opposed to the decision announced today by American Airlines to cancel this flight route. It is a critically important route, both for the constituents in my district who travel between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv, and also for the growing business relationship between our city and Israel. The effects of this decision will not only hurt tourism between our two countries, it will have a negative impact on our economies. The ease and accessibility offered by this flight had significant long-term potential to stimulate growth and communication.

Philadelphia is home to close to 280,000 Jews.

During last year’s ground war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, named “Operation Protective Edge,” the FAA briefly announced it was canceling all commercial U.S. flights to Israel, a move largely deemed a victory for the terrorist group Hamas.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defied the FAA’s move by flying into Israel to prove that the nation was safe despite the relentless rocket fire from Hamas. Bloomberg described Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) as “the best protected airport in the world.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.

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