Airlines and tour operators cancel Israel operations amid conflict in region

Airlines and tour operators cancel Israel operations amid conflict in region

Many airlines and tour operators across the globe have cancelled or suspended operations in Israel following attacks by the militant group Hamas on the Gaza strip.

An array of US-based airlines, including Delta, United and American Airlines, cancelled direct flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport – the main commercial air hub for Israel.

Outside the US, Lufthansa Group has suspended all of its flights, including those on Swiss International Air Lines and Austrian Airlines, through to Monday and British Airways cancelled flights over the weekend and reduced services early this week.

El Al, the national carrier of Israel, said on Facebook two days ago “at the moment, there are no changes to the flight schedule.” The carrier went on to say that passengers who have already initiated travel and wish to advance their return until Friday, October 13, 2023, can do so without being charged a fee.

An Emirates spokesperson said that the carrier has not altered its three daily services to/from Tel Aviv. “We have been closely monitoring the situation in Israel since it began, and we are in close contact with the relevant authorities regarding developments,” the spokesperson added.

Within Australia, Bunniks Tours has made adjustments to its Israel itineraries following the attack.

“All tours to the end of the first of November, are suspended. But we’ll reassess. They’re on a rolling on a rolling basis,” Bunnik Tours’ co-CEO Dennis Bunnik told Travel Weekly.

“Our decision to run tours is based on a range of different sources of information, including DFAT travel warnings – Smartraveller travel warnings – as well as the assessments on the ground, from our local teams.”

Bunnik went on to add that the travel industry is being more cautious than DFAT in this instance, due to logistical issues that would be created if the country suddenly went into lockdown and couldn’t evacuate people easily out of Israel.

Intrepid Travel has acted similarly in the face of the attacks.

“Intrepid Travel can confirm it had a small number of travellers in Israel when violence broke out on Saturday. All travellers and tour leaders were safely accounted for,” the company said in a media statement.

Travellers with Intrepid initially stayed at their hotels with their tour leaders and most have now left the country, with the rest returning home tomorrow.

As the situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories is continuing to escalate and the Foreign Office is warning against all but essential travel, Intrepid has taken the decision to cancel all trips departing up until October 16. Our teams are contacting all customers affected.

Zina Bencheikh, managing director EMEA for Intrepid Travel, said: “Our thoughts are with the people of Israel and the Palestinian Territories at this awful time, and we send our condolences to all those who have lost loved ones.”

Featured Image – Palestinians who survived an Israeli missile strike. (Credit: Creative Commons)

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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