Israel-Palestine conflict: Major airlines cancel scores of flights to Tel Aviv

However, commercial air links with Israel's second international airport at Eilat remain uninterrupted

By Agencies

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FILE. El Al Israel Airlines planes are seen on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo: Reuters
FILE. El Al Israel Airlines planes are seen on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo: Reuters

Published: Mon 9 Oct 2023, 8:43 AM

Last updated: Tue 10 Oct 2023, 12:43 PM

Major airlines cancelled dozens of flights to Tel Aviv after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel. American Airlines, Air France, Lufthansa, Emirates and Ryanair are among those pulling flights to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport.

Cathay Pacific Airways said on Monday that it was cancelling its flights CX675 from Hong Kong to Tel Aviv, and CX676 from Tel Aviv to Hong Kong on Tuesday. Cathay said it would provide further updates ahead of its next scheduled service on Thursday Oct. 12.

China's Hainan Airlines cancelled flights between Shanghai and Tel Aviv on Monday, citing tensions in Israel, the Global Times newspaper reported citing the airline. The newspaper added that Hainan Airlines has three direct flight routes between China and Israel. Other airlines suspending flights included Aegean, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Wizz Air and Air Canada

However, airport authorities did not stop commercial air links with Israel's second international airport at Eilat, a tourist destination on the Red Sea.

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And Israeli flag carrier El Al said Sunday that it was maintaining its Tel Aviv flights for now, though some flights operated by foreign partners had been cancelled.

El Al said it was operating "in accordance with the instructions of the Israeli security forces", with all flights now departing only from Terminal Three at Ben Gurion. Like most other airlines, it said clients could change their tickets without charge.

In Athens, the foreign ministry said it was working to repatriate 149 Greek tourists from Israel, and 81 of them were due to arrive back late Sunday on an El Al flight.

After Saturday saw a list of major carriers cancelling flights, Spain's AENA airports operator told AFP four of nine flights scheduled to Tel Aviv on Sunday had been cancelled, two from Madrid and two from Barcelona.

Another nine flights, from Tel Aviv to airports in Spain, have so far been unaffected, the operator said.

Spain's Air Europa said it had cancelled its two flights scheduled between Madrid and Tel Aviv, while Iberia Express, the low-cost arm of national carrier Iberia, went ahead with a Madrid-Tel Aviv flight after suspending two on Saturday.

Vueling, the Barcelona-based low-cost airline, said given the situation in Israel, "flights to/from Tel Aviv are affected and experiencing delays".

A spokesman for Germany's Lufthansa on Saturday cited "the current security situation" to say it was cancelling all flights to and from Tel Aviv "up until and including Monday".

Air France said it had halted Tel Aviv flights "until further notice", and the Air France-KLM group's low-cost carrier Transavia said it was cancelling all flights from Paris and Lyon to Tel Aviv up to and including Monday.

Italy's flag-carrier ITA airways cancelled its flight until Sunday morning at the earliest "to protect the safety of passengers and crew", while Polish carrier LOT scrapped its flights from the Polish capital on Saturday.

US-based United Airlines told AFP its Tel Aviv flights "will remain suspended until conditions allow them to resume."

It said it had "operated two scheduled flights out of Tel Aviv late Saturday and early Sunday and accommodated our customers, crews and employee travellers who were at the airport."


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