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Foreign airlines cancel flights to Israel following Iranian attacks

Illustrative - Lufthansa airplane at the Frankfurt Airport, Dec. 21, 2016. (Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Several airlines have suspended regular flights to and from Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv amid tensions in the Middle East after the Islamic Republic of Iran launched over 300 missiles and drones in a first-time attack from Iranian soil on Saturday night, Reuters reported.

Germany’s Lufthansa Airlines suspended its regular flights to and from Tel Aviv, Erbil and Amman through Monday, while flights to Beirut and Tehran will remain suspended until at least Thursday.

According to a spokesperson for the Dutch arm of Air France, KLM canceled all flights to and from Ben-Gurion until Tuesday. 

On Sunday, Britain’s easyJet paused operations in Israel and announced operations will be paused until April 21. 

Wizz Air, a Hungarian-based carrier that provides low-cost air travel in Bulgaria and Poland says it canceled most of its flights to and from Ben-Gurion through Monday.

Finnair suspended operations in Iranian airspace until further notice, causing possible longer flight times from the Qatari capital Doha. According to a spokesperson for the Finnish carrier, the airline will reroute over Egypt, resulting in delays of a “few minutes.”

Scandinavian Airlines, commonly known as SAS, said flights between Copenhagen, Denmark and Bangkok, Thailand flew partially over the region and one flight had to reroute overnight between Saturday and Sunday, according to a spokesperson.

Iberia Express Airlines, which flies throughout Europe announced it it would cancel flights to Israel on Sunday and Monday.

United Airlines also canceled Sunday and Monday scheduled flights from Newark to Tel Aviv, it reported to Reuters.

Air Canada canceled flights to Israel on Monday and Tuesday and warned of long delays on Israeli flights.

Israel reopened its airspace at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, although flight schedules from Tel Aviv were expected to be affected by the overnight attack from Iran. Travelers were advised to check flight times before going to Ben Gurion.

Israeli airline companies said operations were returning to normal after the attack closed the airspace and led to flight cancellations.

El Al Airlines, the Jewish state's flagship carrier, said it resumed operations and was “working to stabilize the flight schedule as soon as possible,” as Israelis flocked to the airport for vacation travel ahead of the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover.

El Al said it will offer rescue flights from Athens, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Madrid, New York and Miami for Israelis who are stranded abroad before the upcoming Passover holiday.

“El Al will continue to operate as much as possible to preserve the air bridge to and from Israel,” the airline stated.

The airline had canceled 15 flights to Europe, Dubai and Moscow scheduled for Sunday, while flights that had taken off from Bangkok and Phuket were forced to return.

El Al’s Sun Dor subsidiary is offering flights to Israel from Larnaca, Rhodes, Warsaw, and Krakow.

Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon reopened their respective airspace on Sunday, at the end of Iran's unprecedented direct attack against Israel that included 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles. An estimated 99% were intercepted by Israeli and allied countries’ air defenses, including the U.S. ,Great Britain, France and Jordan.

Read more: IRAN ATTACK

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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