Friday, July 12, 2024

Amid conflict, Israel announces emergency plan for inbound int’l flights

As the conflict with Hamas continued for a fourth day on tuesday, Israel has announced an emergency plan, which will be activated if foreign airlines completely stop flights to the country.

Israel’s Transport Minister Miri Regev announced the plan in a statement, noting it aims to help Israelis return to the country if their flights on foreign airlines are canceled, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the emergency plan, Israeli airlines will launch an increased number of flights to Israel at four airports in New York, Frankfurt, Athens, and Dubai, which were chosen to serve as departure hubs for their connectivity with global airports.

Israeli airlines have added more than 20 flights to transfer Israelis, and more than 100,000 have so far returned to the country since the conflict broke out on October 7, according to the statement.

Regev has instructed to prepare Ramon Airport near the southernmost city of Eilat for inbound international flights.

The Ministry also called on Israelis who plan to depart the country to reconsider their plans due to the difficulties that may arise in returning home.

Since Israel declared a war on Hamas as retaliation against the militant group’s unpredented attack, multiple airlines have cancelled or suspended flights to the Jewish nation.

In a statement to CNN on Monday, American Airlines said it was suspending flights until Friday as it closely monitors the situation on the ground.

The cancellations follow on the heels of a “do not fly” order from the president of the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing 15,000 American Airlines pilots.

Delta Air Lines is also canceling all flights to and from Tel Aviv for the rest of the month, but said in a statement that it will “work with the US government as needed to assist with the repatriation of American citizens who want to return home”.

While Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific canceled its Tuesday flight to and from Tel Aviv, Air Canada announced the suspension of all its flights for now.

Ireland’s Ryanair said it was canceling flights in and out of Tel Aviv until October 11, citing operational restrictions.

Air India and Lufthansa announced that they were canceling flights until October 14, and Norwegian Air said it is canceling flights until October 15.

Korean Air canceled one of its three regularly scheduled weekly flights into Tel Aviv on Monday, but the South Korean flag carrier said it is planning on flying a 218-seat plane from Tel Aviv and to Incheon on Tuesday in order to bring Korean nationals back home.

Ben Gurion International Airport on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, is located less than 40 miles from Gaza.

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