Aviation article(s)
October 10, 2023
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Foreign airlines are reducing and occasionally even cancelling their flight schedule to Israel following unprecedented attacks by Hamas over the weekend, which has quickly escalated into an all-out war.


Israel's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said in an updated advisory on October 11 that "to date, international flights of many airlines are still arriving and departing to and from Israel."


Israeli airlines are also still "operating as usual and are even increasing their flights to certain destinations while notifying the public."


However, some foreign airlines are starting to limit their operations in the country.


"Foreign airlines are currently reducing and occasionally even cancelling their flight schedule to Israel," Israel's civil aviation authority said.


El Al Cargo — which is based in Israel — noted that its flights to and from the country "depart as usual." Reuters reported that the national carrier is operating a full schedule and adding flights to bring back reservists called into duty by the government.


FedEx, UPS suspend freighter flights to Israel


On October 9, all FedEx and TNT services in and out of Israel were temporarily suspended "for today and tomorrow," — and it is also adjusting its services as it closely monitors the situation.


"In light of the events unfolding in Israel, our inbound and outbound flights to the country have been temporarily suspended," FedEx said on its website.


"All shipments destined to Israel that are currently transiting via our network will be safely held in our facilities. Delivery of shipments already in Israel will be performed where safe and possible," it added.


DHL said in a statement to Asia Cargo News that it will adapt its operations accordingly.


"We strongly condemn the recent attack on Israel. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the people in Israel, our colleagues, and their families — their safety remains our top priority. We are closely monitoring the situation and will adapt our operations as necessary," it added.


UPS has issued an alert on its website, alerting its customers about possible delays. 


"Service disruptions may occur due to the current situation in Israel," the advisory said. "We have contingency plans in place to move shipments that are already in Israel to their destinations as quickly as it is safe to do so, and we continue monitoring the situation closely."


Lufthansa said it is suspending its regular flights to and from Tel Aviv.


"Due to the still unclear situation in Israel and after intensive analysis of the situation, Lufthansa has decided to suspend its regular flights to and from Tel Aviv up to and including Saturday (October 14)," the German carrier said. 


Lufthansa Cargo has cancelled freighter flights to Tel Aviv through Thursday and has an embargo on new shipments to Israel until Sunday.


Air France KLM Martinair Cargo (AFKLMP) also issued its own advisory telling customers that "AF and KLM have postponed all flights to/from TLV until further notice."


"This also means that TLV will be closed for all cargo operations with immediate effect and until October 16," it added.


Cathay Pacific also announced service suspensions in Tel Aviv.


"In view of the latest situation in Israel, all Cathay Pacific flights between Hong Kong and Tel Aviv from today up to and including October 29, 2023, will be cancelled," Cathay said.


It added that "these flights are now unavailable for any cargo booking."


Civil aviation authorities in the US, European Union, and Israel have urged airlines to exercise caution in the airspace over the region, but no flight restrictions have been implemented yet.


The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued a Conflict Zone Information Bulletin (CZIB) for the Israel airspace.


EASA said due to the "unstable situation," it will continue to closely monitor the situation, with a view to assessing whether there is an increase or decrease in the risk for EU aircraft operators as a result of the evolution of the threat.


"Air operators should closely monitor airspace developments in the region and follow all available aeronautical publications issued by Israeli State authorities, alongside available guidance or direction from their national authorities, including information shared through the European Information Sharing and Cooperation Platform on Conflict Zones," it said.


"They should ensure that a robust risk assessment is in place together with a high level of contingency planning for their operations and be ready for short notice instructions from the Israeli authorities," it added.


Several airlines have cancelled or reduced flights due to a recent Hamas attack from Gaza. This includes American Airlines, Delta Air, United, Air Canada, Emirates, and Virgin Atlantic, among others.

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