Airlines cancel Israel flights, tour operators scramble to change trips after attacks
People wait in departing section at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel’s only international airport, after many flights from abroad are cancelled due to the attacks launched by Palestinian factions in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 8, 2023.
Turgut Alp Boyraz | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Monday that nine U.S. citizens were killed. Some U.S. citizens are still unaccounted for “and we are working with our Israeli partners to determine their whereabouts,” he said.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday sent a notice to pilots stating “operators are advised to exercise extreme caution when operating” in the Tel Aviv area because of the attacks.
United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines each scrubbed service to Tel Aviv. United Flight 954, which departed San Francisco Friday night for Israel, turned back near Greenland, according to flight-tracker FlightAware.
“Our Tel Aviv flights will remain suspended until conditions allow them to resume,” United said on Sunday.
American and Delta flights scheduled for early this week were also canceled.
Germany-based Lufthansa Group said all of its flights, including those on Swiss International Air Lines and Austrian Airlines, were suspended into Tel Aviv through Monday.
“We are continuously monitoring the security situation in Israel and are in close contact with the authorities,” Lufthansa said in a statement. “The safety of our guests and crew members has top priority for Lufthansa.”
British Airways also canceled flights this weekend and reduced service early in the week. Air France said its Tel Aviv service was canceled “until further notice,” while European budget airlines Wizz and easyJet canceled flights to Tel Aviv through at least Monday.
Israeli airline El Al said Sunday that its flights were “operated as scheduled” and said it was expanding its schedule to help offset the cancellations. Emirates Airline also continued to operate flights between Tel Aviv to Dubai, and Turkish Airlines flew between Tel Aviv and Istanbul.
El Al and other carriers also offered travel waivers for customers to delay or cancel their trips.
Cruise operator Royal Caribbean said it adjusted several itineraries to bypass the area because of the attacks. “Impacted guests are being notified directly,” the company said in a statement.
Some tour operators were working to get travelers out of the country.
Intrepid Travel said it “had a small number” of travelers in the country when the attacks began on Saturday and that all guides and customers were accounted for.
“The majority of travellers left Israel over the weekend, with the remainder set to depart today,” the tour company said in a statement. The company was working with several airlines to get travelers out of the country, a spokeswoman said.
The company canceled its tours through Israel and Palestinian territories through the end of the month.