May 22, 2024

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Flights were canceled and disrupted after the Iranian attack on Israel

Flights were canceled and disrupted after the Iranian attack on Israel
  • By Dearbil Jordan
  • Business correspondent, BBC News

Image source, Getty Images

Airline passengers face canceled or disrupted flights to Israel and surrounding countries after Iranian airstrikes over the weekend.

EasyJet has suspended its flights to and from Tel Aviv until Sunday, April 21.

Wizz Air said that it will resume its flights to Israel on Tuesday, April 16, after stopping its flights to Tel Aviv on Sunday and Monday.

But she warned that “passengers may face some schedule changes.”

Wizz Air said it is “closely monitoring the situation with the relevant authorities and keeping its passengers informed of all changes to the schedule.”

“All passengers affected by the schedule changes will be provided with options to rebook or receive a refund,” it added.

Israel closed its airspace on Saturday evening after Iran launched its first-ever direct attack on the country. Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel in response to a raid on Tehran's consulate in Damascus on April 1, which resulted in the killing of a number of senior Iranian leaders.

Israel did not announce that it carried out the attack on the consulate, but it is widely believed to have been behind it.

Israel reopened its airspace early Sunday morning, as did Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, which suspended their flights for a period.

The German airline group Lufthansa said it had suspended its flights to and from Tel Aviv, Erbil and Amman until Monday, but said it would resume on Tuesday.

A company spokesperson said: “The Lufthansa Group had already decided on Friday, April 12, to fly around Iranian airspace until Thursday, April 18, thus temporarily suspending flights to Tehran.”

Meanwhile, KLM has canceled all flights to and from Tel Aviv until Tuesday.

Flights have been redirected

Other airlines are rerouting their flights which may add time to flights. Australian company Qantas said its planes were changing course to avoid Iranian airspace.

“We are not currently flying over Iraq, Iran or Israel, but we continue to monitor the situation for any potential impact on our operations,” Virgin Atlantic said.

“The safety and security of our customers and people is and will always be paramount. We apologize for any inconvenience caused to customers due to slightly longer journey times.”

The airline stopped flights to Israel last year, but a spokesman said it aims to resume flights in September.

British Airways said there would be a flight to Tel Aviv on Monday, but added that it was keeping the situation under review.

The British airline, owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), resumed its flights to Israel earlier this month after suspending flights last October.

It has been flying four flights a week to Israel since the beginning of April. The planes stop in Larnaca in Cyprus where the crew is changed to avoid employees staying overnight in Tel Aviv. Non-stop flights then operate from Tel Aviv to the UK.

Iberia Express, also owned by IAG, canceled its flights to Tel Aviv on Sunday and Monday.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) reiterated its previous guidance to airlines to exercise caution in Israeli and Iranian airspace.

She added: “The European Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency will continue to monitor the situation closely to assess any potential risks to the safety of aircraft operators in the European Union and prepare to act as appropriate.”

Qatar Airways said it had resumed its flights to Iran, heading to Tehran, Mashhad, Shiraz and Isfahan. She added: “The safety and security of our passengers remains our top priority.”

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