Airlines Suspend Flights to Israel Amidst Attacks
Airlines prioritize safety amidst escalating violence
Several international airlines have made the difficult decision to suspend or reduce flight services to and from Tel Aviv following the recent surprise attack by Hamas militants on Israel. These airlines are prioritizing safety and waiting for conditions to improve before resuming operations.
Deadliest attack in decades prompts response
Hamas militants launched a deadly attack on Israel, resulting in the loss of 700 lives and the abduction of dozens. In response, Israel retaliated by launching airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. The severity of the attack prompted regulators, including the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and Israel’s aviation authority, to urge caution without suspending flights.
Changes in air travel and routes
In light of the conflict, Israel’s civil aviation authority requested airlines to review security and threat information. They also made adjustments to air traffic routes, which may cause delays. Additionally, airlines were advised to carry extra fuel to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances.
U.S. airlines suspend direct flights
Following the FAA’s caution advisories, major U.S. air carriers, including United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines, temporarily suspended direct flights to Tel Aviv. These airlines typically operate direct services from key cities like New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Miami. United Airlines had already conducted two scheduled flights from Israel to the U.S. before suspending services, while Delta Air Lines is closely monitoring the situation and canceling flights accordingly.
European airlines join the suspension
European airlines have also taken steps to ensure passenger safety. Air France and Finland’s Finnair have suspended their direct flights to Tel Aviv. easyJet, a British airline, temporarily halted flights to Tel Aviv and adjusted flight timings for the upcoming days. Hungarian budget carrier Wizz Air canceled all flights to and from Tel Aviv until further notice. These measures have a significant impact on Wizz Air’s operations, with Israel accounting for a substantial portion of their October capacity.
Other airlines continue operations with caution
While some airlines have suspended flights, others continue to operate with increased vigilance. Flightradar24, a flight tracking site, shows upcoming arrivals to Ben Gurion Airport from airlines such as Ryanair, flyDubai, and El Al, Israel’s national carrier. Israel’s airports authority confirms that Ben Gurion Airport remains operational for both arrivals and departures.
Flight cancellations and updates
Chinese airline Hainan Airlines suspended flights between Tel Aviv and Shanghai but will continue operating flights between Beijing, Shenzhen, and Tel Aviv, allowing cancellations with waived fees until October 20. Cathay Pacific canceled its flight between Hong Kong and Tel Aviv, providing updates on the next flight scheduled for Thursday. Korean Air also canceled its Monday flight from Incheon to Tel Aviv and warned passengers about potential irregularities in future flights.
Adapting to the situation
Portugal’s TAP suspended flights until Monday and offered passengers the option to reschedule or receive refunds at no additional cost. Virgin Atlantic allowed customers to rebook or request a refund until October 15 while continuing some flights. These airlines are making necessary adjustments to ensure passenger safety and flexibility amidst the ongoing conflict.
In conclusion, airlines are taking proactive measures to prioritize the safety of their passengers and crew. The suspension of flights to and from Tel Aviv reflects the gravity of the situation and the need for caution during this challenging time.