Airlines were quick to cancel their flights to Israel early Saturday after Palestinian militants canceled their flights. Launch a surprise attackThousands of rockets were fired from Gaza at neighboring Israeli towns during a Jewish holiday.
As of Saturday afternoon, about 16%. Flights were canceled and 23% delayed to Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel’s international hub, located outside Tel Aviv.
Some flights bound for Israel were diverted to other airports around the world. United Airlines Flight 954 departed San Francisco International Airport on Friday night and diverted over Greenland about seven hours into a more than 13-hour flight, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. The flight will later return to San Francisco.
“The safety of our customers and crews is our top priority,” the airline said in a statement. “We are closely monitoring the situation and adjusting flight schedules as needed.”
FlightAware data also shows that Delta Air Lines and American Airlines canceled Saturday and Sunday flights to Israel that were scheduled to depart from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.
German airline Lufthansa also announced on Saturday that it will significantly reduce its flights to Tel Aviv.
Representatives of the airline said in a statement: “In light of the current security situation in Israel, the Lufthansa Airlines Group will reduce its flight program to and from Tel Aviv this Saturday.”
The airline said there would still be one flight from Tel Aviv to Frankfurt on Saturday, but all other flights were cancelled.
“We are constantly monitoring the very dynamic security situation in Israel and are in close contact with the authorities. The safety of our guests and crew members is a top priority for Lufthansa,” airline representatives wrote.
Popular Israeli news outlet Walla! News reported on Saturday that Swiss Air, Austrian Airlines and Turkish Airlines had canceled their flights to and from Israel.
El Al, Israel’s national airline, said customers “may suspend flights at no charge or cancel with a no-cost voucher,” and set up an emergency hotline for customers who need to change their flights.
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