Israel flights: Which airlines are still flying amid the coronavirus outbreak?

Airlines are scrambling to adjust to a collapse in demand for flights and the country's self-quarantine requirement



The spread of coronavirus around the world has hit airlines, as demand for flights declines and countries impose restrictions on incoming visitors.

Israeli authorities have moved aggressively to prevent visitors infected with the virus from entering. It has imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals and banned foreigners if they cannot prove they have somewhere to self-isolate for that period while in Israel.

Five airlines usually offer direct flights to Tel Aviv from London.

Virgin Atlantic, who operate daily flights from Heathrow, cancelled routes to and from Israel on March 12 and are expecting services to resume on April 1.  Virgin is waiting re-booking fees and permitting customers to change their tickets to any other date until September 30.

The airline said that “Israeli authorities have advised that from March 12 they will deny entry to all international travellers unless they can prove they will be placed in home quarantine for 14 days after their arrival.

"As a result, we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend our services between London Heathrow and Tel Aviv.”

WizzAir, which flies to Tel Aviv from Luton, has suspended all flights from until March 23.

The Hungarian low-cost airline said: “Passengers with bookings affected by this change will be automatically informed and accommodated on an alternative route at the earliest possible date.”

It said that passengers would be offered a free re-booking, a full refund or 120 per cent refund of the original fare in WizzAir credit. Passengers would be able to select their preferred option in an email that has been sent round.

EasyJet, the low-cost airline which operates 14 flights a week to Tel Aviv from London, said that its “flying programme to and from Israel remains unaffected,” but said it was advising “non-Israeli passengers not to travel if they intend to stay in Israel for less than 14 days”.

The airline continued: “EasyJet complies with guidance from relevant authorities and whilst these circumstances are outside of our control, we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

British Airways is similarly still operating daily flights to Israel.

The airline has however said that customers on cancelled flights "will be offered the option of a full refund, rebook to a later date, or rebook on other carriers where possible." 

It has also offered fee-free changes for bookings made between March 3 and March 16. 

Israeli airlines Arkia and Israir have announced that they are ending international connections and charter flights until further notice.

Israeli flag-carrier El Al said that it was continuing international connections, although with a reduced service.

The Lufthansa Group – which, besides Lufthansa itself also includes airlines that offer connecting flights to Israel through Manchester, such as Brussels Airlines – has cancelled all flights to Israel until March 28.

Lufthansa Group operates 10 flights a day from Tel Aviv to a host of German, Swiss, Belgian and Austrian cities, and also offers one weekly service to Eilat.

Among American airlines that operate flights to Israel, Delta said it would cancel Israel routes from New York between March 14 and March 24 and would waive re-booking fees.

United said that it had no plans to cancel flights, and would continue to operate its 14 flights a week from Newark, three weekly from Washington Dulles and, six from San Francisco.

Turkish Airlines has reduced its service of around 50 weekly flights to Israel from around Turkey to just 14, while Italian flag-carrier Alitalia will only one flight per day between Rome and Tel Aviv.

Pegasus, which operates connecting flights between London and Israel via Istanbul, announced it was cancelling all flights to Israel on Friday.

Forecasts provided by the Israel Aviation Authorities show Israel expects daily arrivals to fall to fewer than 22,000 passengers later this week. This is compared to over 46,000 earlier in March.

Israel’s main airport, Ben Gurion Airport, has moved all international flights to Terminal Three, where only three concourses remain open.  The airport’s rail-link has been closed to international passengers.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel hit 100 on Thursday, while a Greek pilgrim became the first coronavirus patient to die in the country.

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