OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
6:07 PM – Monday, October 9, 2023
Major airlines have suspended flights to and from Israel after the Middle Eastern country officially declared war against Hamas.
Saturday marked the deadliest day for Israel in decades, following months of escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Videos surfaced online that showed a plume of smoke emanating from what appeared to be a terminal in Tel Aviv, where Israel’s largest international airport is located.
However, Israeli officials said on Monday that the airport was not affected by the unprecedented attack.
Despite the airport being in sound condition, multiple airlines are still suspending flights in an effort to protect crews and passengers from potentially getting caught in any crossfire.
The president of the Allied Pilots Association, Ed Sicher, said in a statement to members that the company’s pilots should not fly to Israel until they “can be reasonably assured of the region’s safety and security.”
The notice cited the most recent advisory from the U.S. State Department, which warns that the current situation in Israel is “unpredictable” and that mortar and rocket fire can take place at any time without warning, putting aircrafts in danger.
“It is not prudent or appropriate to knowingly put our flight crews and passengers in harm’s way by maintaining flights into a war zone,” Sicher said.
On Saturday night, one flight that was headed to Israel from San Francisco turned around mid-flight. Passengers were more than four hours into the flight when the decision came to return to California.
In a statement, United Airlines said it had run two scheduled flights to the United States from Israel late on Saturday and early on Sunday, but had suspended services “until conditions allow them to resume.”
Delta Air Lines and American Airlines have also suspended services after the U.S. State Department issued travel advisories for the region.
International carriers, including Air France, Lufthansa, Emirates, Ryanair, Brussels Airline, Transvaria, Iberia Express, ITA and Aegean Airlines, have also suspended services “until further notice.”
British Airways has yet to suspend travel but said that it was allowing bookers to be “flexible” with their travel plans.
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