Israel Denies Korean Air Passengers From Disembarking Due To Coronavirus Fears

**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.

Korean Air Boeing 777
Passengers aboard a Korean Air Boeing 777 were denied deplaning due to coronavirus fears. Photo: Getty Images

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.



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.
Furthermore, Korean Air confirmed to Simple Flying that the airline has cancelled all flights between Seoul Incheon and Tel Aviv through March 28th, 2020.

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.

Korean Air 777
The Korean Air incident occurred after South Korea reported an increase in cases. Photo: Boeing

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.

coronavirus temperature check getty images
The coronavirus outbreak has heavily impacted travel to and from Asia. Photo: Getty Images

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!


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Mohanoe MA

Every country has the rights to say yes or no, based on a new diseases which is not controllable that can also listed as pandemic.


As a precaution, Korean Air must have cancelled flights instead of still flying them like their fellow Chinese Airlines did to contain the spread of the virus.


Israel is the only one at fault for not informing the multiple Airlines of their decision to prohibit these flights in due course. SK should simply cease all flights in and out of Israel, regardless of Airlines, and especially Israelian airlines. Low b**w by Israel to SK Airlines.

David tran

As the moment the whole world id effect by coronavirus people should stay home for there safety and every body else as isreal refuse for deplane i think they should inform the airline before it wait till arrive then decline that is cruel


???? Does Israel apply racial or nationality distinctions, rather than on the origin or symptoms of the disease?? Cant’understand


My friend and I were on the flight. We both hold Australian passports, we were amongst many passengers who had simply transited in Incheon Airport and were not Korean citizens. No mention was made in the Israeli press of any nationality other than “South Koreans” being aboard. The Israeli government has every right to protect its citizens, however, it is unacceptable that it gave permission for the flight to leave Korea and only advise the airline that it was denying disembarkation when it was approximately two hours out from Tel Aviv.
Some of us flew across the world and back again in three days due to no fault of our own.

Kandia Dickson

I was on this flight and I am not Korean.
Not all the passengers were Korean as was advertised by the Jerusalem post.
In fact most of the passengers were from Australia, North America, Japan and others.
I think it is absolutely disgraceful that the isreali authorities gave a permission to land in Israel before actually leaving Korea but two hours before we landed in Tel Aviv Israel refused entry.
I understand that Israel should protect their country, but it seems that all they wanted was to bring the Israelis back to Israel and the h**l with all the other passengers that were on board.
The Korean crew on this flight could not do enough to make us as comfortable as possible.
They were so understanding, efficient and extremely helpful.
Thank you to the Korean airline.