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Israel reopens airspace as airlines cancel flights due to Iran attacks

Published 14/04/2024, 08:29
© Reuters. A graphical representation of air traffic shows airspace over Iran and the neighbouring Middle East at 0000 GMT, April 14, 2024. Flightradar24.Com/Handout via REUTERS
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By Steven Scheer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli airlines said operations were returning to normal on Sunday after an overnight attack by Iranian missiles and drones closed the airspace and led to flight cancellations.

Israel reopened its airspace as of 7:30 a.m. (0430 GMT) on Sunday, though flight schedules from Tel Aviv were expected to be affected and travellers were advised to check flight times before going to Ben Gurion International Airport.

Flag carrier El Al said it had resumed operations and was "working to stabilise the flight schedule as soon as possible".

"El Al will continue to operate as much as possible to preserve the air bridge to and from Israel," it said.

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

Smaller Israeli carrier Arkia said it was making adjustments to its flight schedule after initially postponing flights to Athens, Milan and Geneva.

According to the airports authority, most flights of foreign carriers have been delayed, including Sunday flights to London by Wizz Air (LON:WIZZ), to New Delhi by Air India, to Madrid by Iberia and to Marseille by Air France.

El Al's flights to London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Bucharest, Athens, Paris and Rome, and Ethiopian Airline's flight to Addis Ababa were able to take off.

Flights into Israel were also disrupted.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways cancelled flights to Jordan and Israel on Sunday, the airline said in a statement.

DELAYS TO FLIGHTS

Swiss International Air Lines has suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv until further notice, the airline said in a post on X on Sunday.

Swiss, owned by German carrier Lufthansa, said all of its planes were avoiding the airspaces of Iran, Iraq and Israel, causing delays to flights from India and Singapore.

In addition to Swiss, Lufthansa said its flights and those of Austrian were also suspended to Tel Aviv, Amman and Erbil until Tuesday. Air India also reportedly has temporarily halted flights to Israel.

With the Jewish festival of Passover next week, El Al said it was offering rescue flights from Athens, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Madrid, New York and Miami for Israelis stranded abroad by other carriers.

Its Sun Dor subsidiary is offering flights back to Israel from Larnaca, Rhodes, Warsaw and Krakow.

Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon reopened their airspaces on Sunday after closing them late on Saturday.

© Reuters. A graphical representation of air traffic shows airspace over Iran and the neighbouring Middle East at 0000 GMT, April 14, 2024. Flightradar24.Com/Handout via REUTERS

United Airlines cancelled Saturday's planned flight from Newark to Tel Aviv, the airline said in a statement.

United is the only major U.S. airline to have resumed flights to Israel since the attacks by Hamas on Israel in October last year.

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