With the exception of Israeli airlines, major carriers around the world have suspended air service to Israel after a devastating surprise attack launched from Gaza on Saturday. Tour operators and cruise lines are also changing itineraries to avoid Israel or canceling trips all together.
Though Ben Gurion Airport, Israel’s main international airport, located just outside Tel Aviv, has remained open since the fighting first erupted, hundreds of flights have been delayed and canceled. On Tuesday evening local time, there were 131 flight cancellations and 90 delays, according to FlightAware, a tracking service.
In the United States, Delta Air Lines announced the cancellation of all flights to and from Israel through the remainder of this month. United Airlines and American Airlines have also suspended service indefinitely.
Several European carriers, including Air France, Finnair and TAP Air Portugal, have also temporarily halted direct flights to and from Israel.
Government agencies across the globe, including the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States, have urged operators to exercise caution when flying in Israeli airspace given the explosive conflict. Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority advised airlines to prepare for delays when calculating fuel needs.
There were about 6,700 international flights into Israel scheduled for this month, the bulk of which are operated by El Al, Israel’s national airline, according to data from aviation-analytics company Cirium. In July, about 37,000 passengers flew into Israel daily, with travelers from the United States representing the largest share at more than 3,800 passengers, according to Cirium data.
El Al said on its website that flights were being operated as scheduled and that the airline was offering flexible cancellations to customers. The airline is also adding flight service from additional destinations to get people home to Israel.
The U.S. Department of State has not prohibited travel to the Israel or to the West Bank, but said that travelers should exercise increased caution upon visiting either of these places. Americans should not enter Gaza, the federal agency said.
Tour operators with excursions to Israel have also altered itineraries. Collette, a tour company with headquarters in Rhode Island, said it was canceling all remaining trips to Israel this year.
Most major cruise lines with scheduled port calls in Israel over the next month are forgoing stops in the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Haifa for ports in Turkey and Greece. Some trips embarking from Israel, like Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas, have been canceled entirely through the end of October.
Ceylan Yeginsu contributed reporting.
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