Tel Aviv is becoming off limits for a growing number of airlines as the conflict enters its fourth day and the Israeli government vows to respond aggressively to the Hamas attacks.
(Bloomberg) — Tel Aviv is becoming off limits for a growing number of airlines as the conflict enters its fourth day and the Israeli government vows to respond aggressively to the Hamas attacks.
Finnair Oyj will cancel all flights to Tel Aviv until March 30 next year, it said on the X, the platform previously known as Twitter. Discount carrier EasyJet said Tuesday that it had suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv and would monitor the situation, “with a view to resuming some services when we can.”
Both carriers follow Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Air France-KLM and the three big US airlines that stopped services yesterday. Delta Air Lines Inc on Monday suspended Tel Aviv flights through Oct. 31 in what it said was “a difficult decision” while promising to help customers book with partners.
The suspensions complicate efforts for foreign tourists and business travelers to leave Israel while also creating a bottleneck for Israeli citizens looking to return home. Airlines still operating to Tel Aviv are rejigging their schedules to allow crews to fly straight back and not have to spend the night in the city.
British Airways Plc said it had a service departing Heathrow for Tel Aviv this morning but that its teams were continuing to monitor the situation. It has adjusted its departure times so flights leave London Heathrow in the morning rather than late afternoon. Virgin Atlantic is also still flying some services but has extended its rebooking policy so that customers who don’t wish to fly can rebook or get a full refund until Nov. 4.
Gulf carriers Emirates and FlyDubai as well as Turkish Airlines and local rival Pegasus are also still flying, according to FlightRadar24 data.
Tel Aviv marks “a small part of European networks in general,” said Alex Irving, an analyst at Bernstein. However airlines do more business into the broader Middle East region meaning the potential for more disruption if the conflict spreads, he said.
Shares in major airlines recovered Tuesday, with British Airways parent IAG SA trading up 2.2% and Lufthansa gaining 2.3%. Wizz Air, the most exposed among European airlines to Israel according to a Raymond James report, gained 0.2% after falling more than 6% Monday. The Bloomberg World Airlines Index Airline gained 0.29% following a 2.6% drop Monday.
Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport usually handles about 300 outbound flights a day but more than a third of scheduled departures are canceled, according to FlightRadar24. Its most popular destinations are Istanbul, Cyprus’ Larnaca and Antalya in Turkey with Dubai and European capitals such as Rome and Paris also among the top 10.
–With assistance from Danny Lee.
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