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Major Western airlines halt flights to Israel

Daily Sabah – Prominent airlines from the United States and Europe suspended flights to Israel amid ongoing Israeli strikes targeting the Gaza Strip and retaliatory missile launches by Palestinian groups.

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Iberia joined U.S.-based carriers United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines in canceling flights to Tel Aviv, late Wednesday and Thursday.

“The safety and security of our colleagues and customers is always our top priority, and we continue to monitor the situation closely,” British Airways said after cancelling its flights to and from Tel Aviv Thursday.

U.K.-based Virgin Atlantic cancelled a flight there late on Wednesday and said it was reviewing whether to operate its Thursday evening flight. Spanish airline Iberia also cancelled its flight to Tel Aviv from Madrid Thursday and back on Friday, a spokesperson said, while Germany’s Lufthansa also cancelled its flights.

“Due to the current situation in Israel, Lufthansa is suspending its flights to Tel Aviv until Friday, May 14,” the German flag carrier said.

Wizz Air said it had delayed its Thursday flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv until Friday. Emirati carrier Flydubai said it was continuing to operate daily flights from Dubai to Tel Aviv. The airline was scheduled to operate three flights on Thursday, its website showed, while a fourth nighttime flight was cancelled.

Virgin Atlantic had said earlier this week that bookings to Israel had soared 250% week on week after an announcement by Britain that Israel was on its “green list” for the reopening of overseas leisure travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

British airline easyJet said that it was not yet cancelling its flights to Tel Aviv. Its next flight there is from Berlin and not scheduled until May 16, with a service from London Luton to Tel Aviv scheduled for May 18.

“We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation,” an easyJet spokesperson said.

United Airlines said it had canceled flights from Chicago and Newark, New Jersey to Tel Aviv on Tuesday and flights from San Francisco and Newark Wednesday.

Daily Sabah
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