Despite the ongoing war in Gaza, many airlines have resumed or are starting to resume services to Israel, after weeks of suspension. Here is Travel Tomorrow’s summary of airlines choosing to recommence operations there, but readers should note, the security situation is still unpredictable due to the continuing policy of armed conflict and cancellations and delays are still to be expected.
Only Israeli airlines offered an immediate air bridge in or out of the country at the start of Israel’s war on Hamas in October 2023, namely flag carrier El Al and fellow Israeli firms Arkia and Israir.
November saw flyDubai, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Red Wings, Azimuth Airlines, and Uzbekistan Airways resume services. With 498 weekly departures by December from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, flights were still at just 34% of September’s numbers by December, amid extensively reported fears for the impact of Israel’s military response on Gazan civilians, but also on the wider region’s economy and tourist sector.
So far, January has seen the Lufthansa Group, which includes Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, and Austrian Airlines, all choosing to reboot flights to Tel Aviv. They are not alone.
Greek and Romanian flag carriers Aegean Airlines and Tarom respectively have restarted flights, as well as Hainan, Hisky, Smartwings and Swiss.
Israel’s Airports Authority says Azerbaijan Airlines, Blue Bird, Bulgaria Air, Air Europa, Air France (24 January), LOT Polish Airlines, Transavia, TUS Airways, and Vueling, are all about to do the same.
February’s schedules are showing Finnair, KLM, Pegasus, and Turkish Airlines flying to and from Israel in February, though again, airlines appear to be holding back on any big announcements due to uncertainties and security threats.
Notably, some of the world’s biggest airlines such as American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, United, and Virgin Atlantic are also keeping very quiet. Air Canada’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners are not bookable to Israel until May at the time of writing.
Hungary’s Wizz Air has no such qualms. It has boasted one-way fares from 1 March 2024 from £31.99 (approx 37 euros). easyJet too is showing Israel on March schedules, as is Turkish subsidiary AnadoluJet.
Never one to shy away from wading into conflict, Ryanair is showing flights from March and has justified this by deferring to advice from Europe’s Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as well as what other European carriers look set to do. Its services connecting Tel Aviv and Marseilles, Milan, Vienna, Memmingen and Baden Baden/Karlsruhe are all on the cards.