Major Airlines Suspend Flights to Israel Amid Rising Tensions

FILE - In this file photo made Jan. 21, 2010, a passenger walks past a Delta Airlines 747 aircraft in McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Mich. Major airlines are suspending flights to Israel after it formally declared war following a massive attack by Hamas. American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines suspended service as the U.S. State Department issued travel advisories for the region citing potential for terrorism and civil unrest. Delta said its Tel Aviv flights have been canceled into this week. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)PAUL SANCYA

In the wake of escalating tensions following a massive attack by Hamas, major airlines worldwide have suspended their flights in and out of Israel. The country declared war after these attacks, prompting a sharp response from both domestic and international carriers.

Air Traffic Grounded

Video footage has emerged online showing a plume of smoke near a terminal at Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel’s primary international gateway. The airport’s online flight board indicates numerous cancellations and delays of incoming and outgoing flights from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.

J.D. Power’s 2023 North American Airline Satisfaction Study asked 7,774 travelers for feedback on airlines.

US Airlines Respond to the Crisis

Several American carriers have been quick to adjust their schedules in light of the evolving situation. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines have suspended their services, citing potential threats of terrorism and civil unrest as highlighted by the travel advisories issued by the U.S. State Department.

“We continue to monitor the situation with safety and security top of mind and will adjust our operation as needed,” commented an American Airlines spokesperson. The airline has put its service to Tel Aviv on hold through to the end of the week, also launching a travel alert to accommodate customers affected by the disruptions.

United Airlines has managed to conduct two scheduled flights out of Tel Aviv over the weekend but announced, “Tel Aviv flights will remain suspended until conditions improve.”

Delta Air Lines, on the other hand, is informing passengers to check its app, website, or contact their reservations department for adjustments since their flights to Tel Aviv have been canceled for the week.

International Airlines Follow Suit

Airlines across Europe and Asia are also taking caution. Many have temporarily halted flights to Israel, emphasizing the safety of their passengers and crew.

Air France announced on its website that it has suspended services to Tel Aviv “until further notice” after consulting with both French and Israeli authorities. “The airline is constantly monitoring the geopolitical situation… to ensure the highest level of flight safety,” the airline reiterated.

Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong’s primary carrier, citing the latest developments in Israel, canceled its Tel Aviv flights for the upcoming week. “The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority,” the airline emphasized on its website, promising further updates soon.

Virgin Atlantic said one in four Heathrow passengers can only fly with IAG, which owns British Airways. Photograph: Sam Pollitt/Alamy

UK Carriers Make Adjustments

British airlines have also made significant schedule modifications. Virgin Atlantic ceased its service between London’s Heathrow Airport and Tel Aviv early this week. Meanwhile, budget airline Wizz Air, which operates from Abu Dhabi and several European destinations to Israel, announced a full suspension of its Tel Aviv flights “until further notice.”

EasyJet took to a statement to declare a “temporary pause” on its operations from London Luton and Manchester airports to Tel Aviv. “Our thoughts are with those who have been affected, and the safety and security of our passengers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority,” the statement read.

British Airways, in contrast, intends to persevere, planning to continue its flights to Israel, albeit with revised departure times.

European Airlines on High Alert

Dutch carrier KLM hasn’t been spared from the upheaval either, canceling its flights to Tel Aviv “until and including Wednesday.”

As hostilities persist, airlines around the world remain vigilant, prepared to adapt their operations as the situation unfolds, underscoring their commitment to the safety and security of their passengers.