Israel has declared war following a massive Hamas attack and major airlines have suspended flights in and out of Israel.
Israel has attacked more than 1,000 targets in Gaza, Palestinian militants have continued to fire rockets, and air raid sirens have been sounded in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Video posted online appeared to show thick smoke billowing from the terminal at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport.
Dozens of arriving and departing flights at Ben Gurion Airport were canceled or delayed, according to the airport’s online flight dashboard, which also showed a stable number of flights. Most flights are operated by Israel’s national carrier El Al, with others operated by regional carriers such as Turkish Airlines Pegasus and Greek airline Bluebird.
American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines suspended service as the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for the region, citing the potential for terrorism and civil unrest.
American Airlines suspended flights to Tel Aviv until Friday. The airline said it has issued a travel alert to provide additional flexibility to passengers whose travel plans are affected.
“We will continue to monitor the situation with safety as our top priority and will adjust our operations as needed,” American Airlines said.
United said it had allowed two scheduled flights out of Tel Aviv on Saturday night and early Sunday and was providing accommodations for passengers, crew and employee travelers at the airport. The airline said its Tel Aviv flights will remain suspended until the situation improves.
Delta Air Lines said flights to Tel Aviv through October 31 have been cancelled. The airline said it was monitoring the situation and adjusting its flight schedule accordingly. Passengers whose flights were canceled or who want to change their Tel Aviv tickets should check the Delta app, website or call Delta Reservations to make adjustments, the company said.
Airlines in Europe and Asia have also suspended flights amid the hostilities, offering passengers refunds and waiving rebooking fees.
Air France said it had suspended flights to Tel Aviv “until further notice” after coordinating with French and Israeli authorities.
“The airline constantly monitors the geopolitical situation in the regions served and flown by its aircraft to ensure the highest level of flight safety,” Air France said on its website.
Lufthansa said on Monday that the decision regarding its aircraft and those of its subsidiaries was taken “due to the still unclear developments in the security situation in Israel and after an in-depth analysis of the situation”. The company suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv until Saturday.
The Lufthansa Group includes Austrian Airlines, SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Lufthansa itself.
Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s main airline, said it would cancel flights to Tel Aviv scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday “in light of the latest situation in Israel.”
“The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority. We will continue to monitor developments closely,” the airline said on its website, adding that it would launch its third weekly flight to the Israeli city on Sunday. Another update will be provided on Friday.
Virgin Atlantic canceled flights between London Heathrow and Tel Aviv on Monday and Tuesday, as well as some routes on Wednesday.
Low-cost airline Wizz Air, which flies to Israel from Abu Dhabi and more than two dozen airports in Europe, said it would cancel all flights to and from Tel Aviv “until further notice.”
British discount airline easyJet said it had decided to “temporarily cease operations” “due to the evolving situation in Israel”, canceling flights to Tel Aviv from London Luton and Manchester airports on Monday.
EasyJet said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with those affected and the safety of our passengers and crew is always easyJet’s top priority.”
British Airways said it planned to “continue operating flights to Israel over the coming days, with adjusted departure times”.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines said it would cancel flights to Tel Aviv “until Wednesday.”
AP Business Writer Kelvin Chan contributed to this report in London. Associated Press writer Geir Moulson contributed from Berlin. Associated Press writer David McHugh contributed from Frankfurt.