Following the welcome news of a cease fire between Israel and Hamas yesterday, foreign airlines are laying plans to restart their flights to Tel Aviv. Major carriers from Europe and the USA have announced resumptions, as have some smaller airlines. More are expected to follow in the coming days.
Air service set to resume to Tel Aviv
The violence that erupted in Israel in the past week caused significant disruptions to flights. Amid concerns that aircraft were at risk from rocket attacks, many aircraft were diverted away from Ben Gurion Airport to Eliat in the south. Several airlines canceled their services over concerns for safety, disrupting passengers’ plans with the last-minute changes.
But, following the welcome announcement of a cease fire yesterday, several airlines are now planning their return to Tel Aviv.
Virgin Atlantic was one of the first to announce its plans to restart services. The airline said earlier today that it was expecting to restart flights on Monday, with a spokesperson telling Reuters that,
“Our London Heathrow – Tel Aviv services remain under constant review and based on the current outlook we expect to operate flight VS453 on Monday 24th May and the return leg VS454 from Tel Aviv to London Heathrow on Tuesday 25th May.”
Also earlier today, the Lufthansa Group said that it would resume its services to the city. Flights on the main Lufthansa airline, as well as SWISS and Austrian, are all expected to restart to Tel Aviv on Sunday.
So far, there has been no word from British Airways, although the booking engine is showing a flight suspension through to May 25th.
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US airlines will return first
But it is the US airlines that are expected to begin arriving in Israel first. Delta and United Airlines are scheduled to depart New Y0rk and Newark later tonight, arriving into Tel Aviv on Saturday. Delta’s first flight back to Israel departs JFK at 23:52 this evening, while United’s Newark service leaves about 45 minutes earlier.
United’s Chicago and San Francisco flights, however, will not operate today. They are hoped to resume over the weekend. American Airlines also is not returning to Tel Aviv until Sunday.
In recent hours, other airlines have begun announcing resumptions too. Ukraine International said in a statement that it was planning to fly back to Israel from May 24th, stating,
“After conducting an internal risk assessment, taking into account the current standards of Ben-Gurion Airport and messages from the aviation services of Ukraine and Israel, UIA is considering the possibility of resuming flights from May 24, 2021.”
Czech airline Smartwings is also eyeing a return, but will not be restarting until May 26th as its service only operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Of course, some airlines never left Tel Aviv completely. El Al continued to fly throughout the clashes, as did flydubai, albeit with a reduced schedule. Etihad briefly suspended its services, but resumed yesterday even before the cease fire was announced.
For those that remain suspended, we can expect further announcements of resumptions in the coming days, just so long as the cease fire holds up.