**Update on 02/24/2020 @ 04:13UTC- Inserted information from Korean Air**
Yesterday, passengers aboard a Korean Air Boeing 777 were in for a long night. After landing in Tel Aviv, Israel, authorities denied most of the passengers aboard the Korean Air flight permission to deplane due to coronavirus concerns.
130 passengers affected
Korean Air flight 957 is a regular commercial flight between Seoul, South Korea and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport. On February 22nd, 2020, the Korean Air 777 operating the flight landed safely in Tel Aviv. However, after landing, authorities refused to allow 130 South Korean passengers to deplane from the Korean Air flight according to the Jerusalem Post.
Israel: Clip, Nearly 200 foreign nationals were refused entry tonight at Ben-Gurion Airport after arriving onboard Korean Air flight from Seoul, decision to refuse entry to the passengers followed a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in South Korea pic.twitter.com/N8yrRiDa5R
— Yiddish News (@YiddishNews) February 23, 2020
The Israeli officials only allowed around 12 Israeli passengers to deplane from the aircraft. The rest of the passengers returned, along with the plane, to Seoul, South Korea. The return flight, KE958 from Tel Aviv to Seoul was canceled. Israeli officials worked to accommodate affected passengers on other flights.
Korean Air confirmed the incident to Simple Flying:
Following Israeli authorities’ decision to deny entry of Korean visitors regarding COVID-10 cases in Korea, the flight KE957 from Incheon to Tel Aviv and returning flight KE958 on February 24th (Monday) and 25th (Tuesday) have been cancelled.
South Korean tourists impacted
Israel’s Foreign Ministry is working to coordinate travel plans for those who were denied entry into Israel. Ultimately, the Foreign Ministry is concerned about the spread of coronavirus in Israel.
Part of the reason for Israel to add travel restrictions for South Korean tourists comes after a group of South Korean tourists infected with the coronavirus traveled to Israel. However, those tourists were only diagnosed after returning to Seoul.
South Korean officials were not pleased with this incident. South Korea’s foreign minister has asked to meet with an Israeli official to discuss the incident and prevent future happenings.
Asian airlines face the brunt of coronavirus outbreak
The coronavirus outbreak has led to a fair bit of panic from the rest of the world. A vast majority of foreign airlines flying to China and Hong Kong have either suspended or reduced flights as a result of reduced demand and health concerns from the coronavirus outbreak. Moreover, countries have largely instituted either travel suspensions or additional screenings for passengers.
Unfortunately, the situation does not seem to be improving. It now appears that Asia-Pacific demand could shrink by upwards of 13% in a market that, otherwise, is one of the largest and fastest-growing in the world.
It is unclear when aviation will return to normal due to the coronavirus outbreak. For now, however, Asian airlines are taking the brunt of the impact. Israeli authorities only allowed some Israeli passengers onboard the Korean Air Boeing 777 flight from Seoul to Tel Aviv to deplane after landing. The rest of the passengers returned to Seoul, South Korea.
Were you onboard this flight? What happened? Do you think Israel should have let the passengers on this Korean Air flight deplane? Let us know in the comments!