Airlines Temporarily Drop U.S.-Tel Aviv Flights After Fighting Intensifies

Airlines Temporarily Drop U.S.-Tel Aviv Flights After Fighting Intensifies
Joe Cortez

Flyers transiting between the United States and Israel may experience difficulties getting to their destination. After increased fighting near Tel Aviv, U.S.-based carriers are temporarily dropping flights to Ben Gurion Airport.

As tensions rise between Israeli and Hamas forces, U.S.-based carriers are temporarily pausing flights between America and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport (TLV). Reuters reports all three legacy carriers have cancelled flights to the airport after fighting intensified between both sides.

Fighting Near Airport Results in Caution Over Flights

The new cancellations come as tensions between Israel and Palestine continues, after the Associated Press reports Israeli forces knocked down a building used by Hamas militants. In retaliation, Palestinian forces fired rockets at Tel Aviv. At least 40 were killed in the fighting, with over 200 wounded.

As a result, the U.S.-based legacy carriers have decided to temporarily pause flights from America into TLV. American Airlines cancelled their flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Tel Aviv through Thursday, May 13, 2021, while issuing a travel waiver through May 25. Delta Air Lines also flies from JFK to Tel Aviv, and have issued a travel waiver through May 13. When asked about starting flights, the airline told Reuters they have made “no determination about resumption at this juncture.”

United Airlines cancelled flights from three airports: Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), and San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Waivers have also been issued through May 25, and the airline says they will “continue to monitor the situation.”

One airline not cancelling flights is Israeli flag carrier El Al Israel Airlines. The carrier says they may introduce additional flights to cover the cancelled flights, in order to “keep Israel’s skies open.”

Cancellations Mark Second Time Airlines Think Twice About Flying over Foreign Skies

While the airline’s voluntary cancellations are a direct reaction to continued fighting in Israel, but it isn’t the first time the aviation industry has been cautious due to active military skirmishes. In April 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration asked American air carriers to avoid flying over parts of Ukraine, due to a mobilization of Russian forces near occupied Crimea.

View Comments (2)


  1. fafa123

    May 19, 2021 at 7:44 am

    Joe Cortez,

    You got the timeline wrong and motivation wrong. Hamas began shooting rockets at Israeli civilians last week Monday (May 10). The AP article you link to indicates that as well as that the multi-story building went down on Wednesday (May 12). The retaliation is by the Israelis against Hamas brass for endangering civilians, not the other way around.

  2. bostontraveler

    June 3, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    @fafa123 this kind of tired propaganda has no place here. Please post these views on OMNI.

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