Amid ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza, one after another foreign airline has suspended flights to Israel, multiple media outlets reported today May 16th.
According to the reports, most of the flights arriving on schedule including those of Israel’s national carrier, El Al; its other two airlines, Israir and Arkia; and Ethiopian Airlines, Fly Dubai and Aegean Airlines are being diverted from Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv to the Ramon International Airport in Eilat.
Airlines pulled out of Israel despite arrangements made last week for incoming flights to land at the Ramon International Airport in the south instead of the main international terminus at Ben Gurion International Airport, after a number of rocket barrages fired from Gaza targeted Ben Gurion, near Tel Aviv. Passengers disembark at Ramon and board buses back to the center of the country; meanwhile, the empty planes fly to Ben Gurion and take on new passengers before departing to their destinations abroad.
The decision was meant to broaden the air corridor taken by passenger flights in and out of Israel and to minimize the numbers of passenger-filled planes on the ground at any one place, in order to lower the chances that rocket fire from Gaza will hit a plane.
Delta, United and Lufthansa were the first to cancel flights to Israel on Thursday, as hundreds of projectiles were fired at central Israel, including in the immediate vicinity of the country’s main hub of international travel and point of cargo entry.
The cancellations of flights came just as Israel was on the cusp of being one of the most unrestricted destinations or departure points in the world from the aspect of coronavirus-related limitations.