The conflict in Gaza, which began following the incursion of Hamas fighters into Israeli territory on October 7, 2023, has dramatically changed the travel and tourism sectors in Israel. After the initial attack, almost all foreign airlines stopped serving Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport (TLV).
The Israeli travel market has become akin to a monopoly involving just a handful of Israeli carriers who have continued to operate, including El Al, Arkia, and Israir.
Only a few international airlines have continued flying into the country. These include Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa (ADD), Etihad Airways to Abu Dhabi (ABU), flydubai to Dubai (DXB), Uzbekistan Airways to Tashkent (TAS), as well as Hainan Airlines to China and Azimuth Airlines and Red Wings to Russia.
However, despite the conflict raging on and with no signs of ending any time soon, airlines have begun mooting the prospect of their return to Israel’s airports.
Already on January 8, 2024, Lufthansa Group airlines including Lufthansa, Swiss, and Austrian Airlines resumed flights to and from Tel Aviv, while Air France, Bulgaria Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Vueling (Spain), Transavia (France), and TUS Airways of Cyprus have all announced they intend to resume flights later in January.
“The airlines are taking into account a critical and important element in that there is no incoming tourism to Israel, and no one knows when it will resume,” said Tourism and aviation expert Yossi Fisher. “The decision is tactical and the investment is for the long term, in preparation for Easter and Passover. Besides, if war breaks out in the north of Israel tomorrow, within six hours Lufthansa will announce the suspension of all flights to Israel.”
Despite the planned return of many legacy airlines, low-cost airlines such as easyJet, Wizz Air, and Ryanair are yet to decide when they might resume flights to Israel. Indeed,…
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