As the situation continues to evolve, travelers, airlines, and the broader travel and hospitality industry must remain vigilant and adapt to these unprecedented challenges.
In the wake of a sudden and large-scale attack launched by Hamas against Israel, major airlines have taken swift action, canceling numerous flights to Tel Aviv. This development has had a significant impact on travel to the region, with a substantial number of flights either canceled or delayed to Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel’s primary international gateway, located just outside Tel Aviv.
As of Saturday afternoon, approximately 16% of scheduled flights to Ben Gurion International Airport have been canceled, while an additional 23% have experienced delays, causing disruption for both passengers and the travel industry at large.
El Al, Israel’s national airline, has responded to the crisis by offering flexibility to its customers. The airline has allowed passengers to suspend flights without incurring charges or to cancel with the option of receiving a voucher without incurring additional costs. To further assist travelers during these turbulent times, El Al has established an emergency hotline to facilitate flight changes.
Several major international carriers have also been compelled to make significant adjustments to their operations. American Airlines, Air France, Lufthansa, Emirates, Ryanair, and Aegan Airlines are among the airlines that have taken the decision to suspend flights to Tel Aviv. Air France has communicated that its Tel Aviv flights will remain suspended “until further notice,” reflecting the uncertainty surrounding the situation.
As a result of these cancellations, some flights bound for Israel have been rerouted to alternative airports worldwide. For instance, United Airlines Flight 954, which departed from San Francisco International Airport on Friday night, was forced to divert over Greenland approximately seven hours into its more than 13-hour journey. Eventually, the flight returned to San Francisco. In response, United Airlines emphasized that the safety of its passengers and crew remains the top priority, and the airline is closely monitoring the situation while adjusting flight schedules as necessary.
FlightAware data reveals that both Delta Air Lines and American Airlines have canceled Israel-bound flights scheduled to depart from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on both Saturday and Sunday, underscoring the widespread impact of the conflict on travel plans.
In addition to these developments, German airline Lufthansa has announced its own significant reduction in flights to Tel Aviv. Lufthansa Group Airlines issued a statement on Saturday, explaining that this decision was made in response to the current security situation in Israel. The airline emphasized its continuous monitoring of the dynamic security landscape and its commitment to the safety of both guests and crew members.
Finally, prominent Israeli news outlet Walla! News reported that Swiss Air, Austrian Airlines, and Turkish Airlines have also canceled flights to and from Israel, adding to the growing list of disruptions in the travel industry resulting from the escalating conflict.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.