Global airlines cancel flights to Israel as violence escalates
Published Thursday, May 13, 2021 6:24PM EDT
Global airlines are cancelling flights to Israel as clashes between the country's military and Palestinian militants in Gaza intensify.
Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Lufthansa and British Airways have all cancelled flights following days of Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket attacks.
Delta cancelled at least six flights between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Tel Aviv on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a spokeswoman for the airline. American Airlines has cancelled flights between JFK and Tel Aviv through Saturday, a spokesperson said. United Airlines has also cancelled flights to and from Tel Aviv through Saturday.
British Airways said it had cancelled its flight between London and Tel Aviv scheduled for Thursday.
"Like other airlines, we have cancelled our flight to and from Tel Aviv today. The safety and security of our colleagues and customers is always our top priority, and we continue to monitor the situation closely," the airline, which is owned by IAG, said in a statement.
German airline Lufthansa is cancelling flights to Israel through Friday. But it expects to resume flight operations beginning Saturday.
"Lufthansa is closely monitoring the current situation in Israel and continues to maintain a close exchange with the authorities, security service providers and our own staff on the ground," the airline said in a statement.
United, Delta and American Airlines have issued travel waivers for passengers travelling to and from Tel Aviv, allowing them to rebook onto other flights.
Fueled by controversy over planned evictions of Palestinian families in Jerusalem, and restrictions at a popular East Jerusalem meeting point as Ramadan began, conflict between Israelis and Palestinians boiled over this week, escalating rapidly into one of the worst rounds of violence between the two sides in the last several years.
Militants in Gaza have fired more than 1,500 rockets into Israel since the latest flareup began Monday afternoon, and Israel has responded with devastating airstrikes in Gaza.
The safety of civilian aircraft flying near conflict zones or areas with high geopolitical tensions has come under scrutiny after Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane in January 2020, killing 176 people.
— Abeer Salman, Amir Tal, Chris Liakos, Pete Muntean and Sugam Pokharel contributed reporting.