The Madrid-based International Airlines Group (IAG), a holding corporation controlling five airlines (British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling, and LEVEL),…
Lufthansa Plans to Resume Flights to Tel Aviv
The airline said it is set to return to Israel as soon as January 2024
Recently, Lufthansa announced its intent to return to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel. The flights are set to recommence on Jan. 8, 2024, making the suspension just around three months long. The airline initially began suspending flights on October 9. At the same time, it will make Lufthansa one of the first carriers to resume flights to Tel Aviv.
In its first phase of flight resumptions, the German flag carrier will operate four weekly flights from Frankfurt, while three weekly flights will operate from Munich. Swiss Airlines and Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa Group’s other subsidiaries, will also resume flights on the same date. The combined schedule will see 20 weekly flights, representing 30% of the pre-conflict level. The carrier’s Airbus A320s will operate the flights.
Impacts to Aviation Amid the Crisis
Similarly to the pandemic lockdown and Ukraine airspace closure, aviation is one of the industries to suffer the consequences of hostilities in Israel as well. In the days following the violent Hamas attack, most of the airlines operating to the area suspended their flights. Even though the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority raised a warning towards airlines operating in their space, they did not restrict the flights completely. The issued message mentioned the following:
“Due to the ongoing conflict situation in the region between Israel and Gaza-based extremist militants, operators are advised to review current security, threat information and NOTAMs.”
That being said, the airlines restricted not only flights to Israel but also to the neighboring Lebanon and Jordan. Some of the flight routes overflying Israel are also either allowed only at a certain flight level or restricted to commercial use completely. This results in longer flight paths and consequently longer flight times and higher fuel burn for the airlines flying in the area.
Israel’s El Al Committed to Maintain Vital Air Link
One airline that keeps Israel connected to the world is the national, now privately held carrier El Al. Amid the ongoing conflict, the airline is still operating a significant portion of the schedule.
Its aircraft are more prepared to serve in such an environment than any other in the world. A 2002 terrorist incident where a shoulder-fired missile narrowly missed an Israeli Boeing 757 prompted El Al to install a system called Flight Guard on its fleet. “When a plane comes under attack, the system responds by firing flares designed to confuse a heat-seeking missile and divert it away from the original target,” a 2004 CNN article reads.
This year, the airline proved its vital role by bringing the citizens back to the country to serve in the military as well as keeping the supply lines still online by carrying cargo.
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