Flights cancelled and disrupted after Iran’s attack on Israel

  • By Dearbail Jordan
  • Business reporter, BBC News

Image source, Getty Images

Airline passengers are facing cancellations or disruption to flights to Israel and surrounding countries after Iran’s airstrikes at the weekend.

EasyJet has suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv up to and including Sunday, 21 April.

Wizz Air said it would resume journeys to Israel on Tuesday, 16 April after stopping flights to Tel Aviv on Sunday and Monday.

However, it warned: “Passengers may experience some schedule changes.”

Wizz Air said that it was “closely monitoring the situation with the relevant authorities and keeping its passengers informed of all schedule changes”.

“All passengers affected by the schedule changes will be provided with rebooking or refund options,” it added.

Israel closed its airspace on Saturday evening after Iran launched its first-ever direct assault on the country. Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel in retaliation for a strike on Tehran’s consulate in Damascus on 1 April, which killed a number of senior Iranian commanders.

Israel has not said it carried out the consulate strike, but is widely believed to have been behind it.

Israel reopened its airspace early on Sunday morning as did Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, which had stopped flights for a period.

German airline group Lufthansa said that it had suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv, Erbil and Amman up to and including Monday, but said they would re-start on Tuesday.

However, it said that flights to Beirut and Tehran would remain suspended until at least 18 April.

A spokesperson said: “The Lufthansa Group had already decided on Friday, 12 April, to fly around Iranian airspace up to and including Thursday, 18 April, and thus temporarily suspend flights to Tehran.”

Meanwhile, KLM cancelled all flights to and from Tel Aviv until Tuesday.

Re-routed flights

Other airlines are re-routing their flights which could add time to journeys. Australia’s Qantas said its planes are changing course to avoid Iran’s airspace.

Virgin Atlantic said: “We are not currently overflying Iraq, Iran, or Israel, but we continue to monitor the situation for any potential impact on our operations.

“The safety and security of our customers and people is paramount and always will be. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers by slightly longer flight times.”

The airline stopped flying to Israel last year but a spokesperson said it was aiming to resume journeys in September.

British Airways said there would be a flight to Tel Aviv on Monday, but added it was keeping the situation under review.

The UK flag carrier, which is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), restarted flights to Israel earlier this month after suspending journeys last October.

It had been operating four flights a week to Israel since the beginning of April. Planes stop at Larnaca in Cyprus where there is a crew change to avoid staff staying overnight in Tel Aviv. The flights then operate non-stop from Tel Aviv to the UK.

Iberia Express, also owned by IAG, cancelled flights to Tel Aviv on Sunday and Monday.

Finnair said that it had suspended operations over Iranian airspace until further notice. Flights from Doha will re-route over Egypt which, a spokesperson said, would result in delays of a “few minutes”.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) reiterated its previous guidance to airlines to use caution in Israeli and Iranian airspace.

“The European Commission and EASA will continue to closely monitor the situation to assess any potential safety risks for EU aircraft operators and be ready to act as appropriate,” it said.

Qatar Airways said it had resumed flights to Iran, flying to Tehran, Mashhad, Shiraz and Isfahan. “The safety and security of our passengers remains our top priority,” it said.

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