SAS, Norwegian and others stop Tel Aviv flights

Rocket strike lands about a kilometre from the airport

Airlines in the US and Europe have stopped flights to Tel Aviv as the situation on the ground in Israel deteriorate.

Yesterday the US’s Federal Aviation Administration told US carriers they were prohibited from flying to or from the Israeli capital’s Ben Gurion Airport for up to 24 hours. It cited a rocket strike that had landed a little over a kilometre from the airport. A number of flights already heading to Tel Aviv were turned back.

The FAA stressed “the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza”.

SAS suspended a flight from Copenhagen due out late Tuesday, then another from Stockholm to Tel Aviv on Wednesday, as well as the return flights. Norwegian suspended flights to Tel Aviv until further notice.

Lufthansa and its divisions Germanwings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss are suspending flights to Tel Aviv for 36 hours. Air Berlin stopped flights on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Air France, KLM, Air Canada and easyJet have suspended all flights to Tel Aviv until further notice.

Directly following the FAA’s directive, Delta, American and United were the first to announce cancellations.

“The carriers are making the right call,” said airline consultant Robert Mann. “They are ultimately legally responsible for their operations and thus, they have to be at least as cautious and in many cases more cautious than any guideline that they are given.”

Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called for flights to resume. “There is no need for US carriers to suspend flights and reward terrorism,” said Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.


[pictured: Ben Gurion International Airport, Terminal 3]