Entry Restrictions Force Two Israeli Airlines To Suspend International Flights

Israeli media is reporting than Arkia Israeli Airlines and Israir have suspended all international flights until the end of March 2020. The move comes is in response to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak that has killed hundreds of people in China, Iran, and Italy. Unlike many other governments who have been slow to react due to the financial impact the coronavirus will have on their economies, Israel is being proactive.

Arkia Israeli Airlines suspends flights. Photo: Airbus

Starting Tuesday, March 10th, 2020, at 20:00 any Israeli citizen arriving from abroad must prove that they are able to self-quarantine for a minimum of two weeks.

Starting Thursday foreigners must prove they can self-isolate

For now, at least, foreigners have been given a 72-hour grace period to enter the country without home quarantine but after will be denied entry if they cannot prove they have a place to stay where they can be isolated for the two week period.

The Times of Israel is reporting the measures for foreigners will come into effect on Thursday, March 12th at 20:00. When speaking about the tough measures Prime Minister said:

“After very complicated deliberations, we’ve reached a decision. Whoever arrives from abroad will enter an isolation period of 14 days. This is a difficult decision but is essential for preserving the health of the public, and public health comes before everything. This decision will be in effect for two weeks, and in parallel, we are also adopting decisions to protect the economy of Israel.”

In order to adhere to the strict rules, non-Israelis must be able to prove that they are able to self-quarantine in a home and not a hotel or hostel.

Israir will continue flying for two more weeks

Tel Aviv-based Israir has said that it will continue to operate flights until March 15th, 2020, in an effort to allow Israelis abroad the chance to return home.

Operating flights from Ben Gurion International Airport (TEV), Israir offers domestic flights to the Red Sea resort of Eilat and a network of charter flights to Europe, the CIS and East Africa.

In an effort to abide by the new requirements, Israels’ second-largest airlines Arkia Israeli Airlines has said all international routes are suspended, effective immediately.

Israir will continue flying for two weeks. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

Along with the cancelation of flights, the airline has hinted that it might need to force some staff to take unpaid leave.

Given the current situation on the ground, it is almost certain that we will see a suspension of overseas airlines flying to Israel for the foreseeable future.

This latest news will be devastating for the countries national flag carrier El Al and will send shock waves throughout the Israeli tourism industry.

Other airlines will cancel flights to Israel

As profit-driven airlines continue to fly to coronavirus hot spots like Milan and Venice I am surprised more governments have not imposed a two-week quarantine like Israel. Incidentally, Israel only has 76 confirmed cases of the virus as of today, while in the United States they have 1,010 and the United Kingdom it is 373, a rise of 53 cases since the day before.

Passengers being screened for the coronavirus in Milan. Photo: Emergenza coronavirus

What do you think about the way governments are handling the coronavirus, and do you think they should follow Israel’s lead? Please let us know in the comments.