US to Continue Charter Flights from Tel Aviv for Americans in Europe
Extended Charter Flights
The U.S. State Department has announced that it will continue to offer government-sponsored charter flights from Tel Aviv to Europe to assist American citizens in departing. These flights will be available through at least Sunday, according to a department spokesperson.
Assistance for American Citizens
The State Department revealed that since Friday, nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens and their family members have already left Israel on State Department-sponsored charter flights to Athens and other transportation options. In total, more than 4,000 seats have been provided to accommodate this effort.
Increased Departure Capacity
Flights have been operating at half capacity or less, ensuring ample space for passengers. Initially, the State Department had only committed to charter flights until Thursday, but the extension has allowed more Americans to depart safely.
Alternative Transportation Options
In addition to charter flights, a U.S.-chartered Royal Caribbean ship departed Haifa and arrived in Cyprus on Monday. The ship transported 150 Americans and their immediate family members, who were then offered onward transportation to Vienna from Cyprus.
Airlines Supporting the Effort
U.S. airlines have responded to the urgent situation by adding flights to Athens and increasing the size of their planes. This ensures that Americans flying from Israel have the necessary capacity to return home. The recent violence caused by Hamas has led to a significant number of American citizens seeking assistance.
Successful Departures from Israel
Over 3,000 U.S. citizens have informed the State Department that they have successfully left Israel and the West Bank using various means of transportation. The state of Florida and a nonprofit organization collaborated to charter a flight, facilitating the return of 270 additional Americans from Israel.
Airlines Encouraged to Resume Flights
United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines temporarily suspended direct flights to Israel. However, more than 30 U.S. lawmakers have urged the CEOs of these airlines to resume flights to Tel Aviv as quickly as possible.
High Demand for Travel Assistance
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Verma informed airlines that the U.S. government has received approximately 17,000 inquiries regarding travel assistance for leaving Israel. The State Department has been working tirelessly to address the needs of American citizens during this challenging time.