Israel-Palestine: flights to Tel Aviv diverted over fear of rocket strikes

Chris Hoare

Flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport (TLV) are rerouted until further notice, Israeli airport authorities announced on May 13, 2021. Planes will be diverted to Ramon Airport (ETM) in Eilat, southern Israel.

The decision only affects flights landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Planes landing in Eilat will then ferry to Tel Aviv to take on new passengers. This decision aims at thinning out the number of planes filled with passengers on Ben-Gurion’s apron in order to lower the chances that a rocket could hit an aircraft. Private planes and freighters are still allowed to land.

On May 12, 2021, US carriers all decided to suspend flights to and from Israel over the increasing violence. United Airlines and American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) said flights would resume on May 25, 2021, while Delta Air Lines did not give a date for service resumption. Israel’s national carrier El Al will maintain flights but announced that all passengers would be allowed to change tickets booked on flights before May 19, 2021, without a fee.

Since the eruption of tensions between Hamas and Israel on May 10, 2021, nearly 1,500 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip, with the Israeli Air Force carrying out retaliatory airstrikes. On May 11, 2021, Israeli authorities temporarily suspended all air traffic to or from Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport. In three days, the clash made 7 victims on the Israeli side, and 67 dead in the Gaza Strip.

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