US to begin chartering flights from Israel to Europe

International |  IANS  | Published :

Washington, Oct 13 (IANS) As officials are scrambling to evacuate American nationals stranded in Israel, the US administration said it will begin chartering flights from the war-torn nation to destinations in Europe starting from Friday.

In the wake of the raging Israel-Hamas conflict, United, American and Delta airlines have all ceased operations to and from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel’s only international airport, CNN reported.

The administration said on Thursday that once the travelers get from Israel to Europe on Israeli, Turkish and other regional airlines, they will be brought home by US-based and other carriers.

“We know there’s a demand signal out there,, and we’re going to try the best we can to meet it,” said, John Kirby, the US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications.

Earlier this week, the State Department had upgraded its advisory for travel to Israel to Level 3: “Reconsider Travel” , which warns that “terrorists and violent extremists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities”.

As the violence continues as a result of the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the US Federal Aviation Administration also warned that it’s a “potentially hazardous situation” to fly in the region.

Meanwhile, some of the other airlines that have cancelled or suspended services to and from Israel are KLM, Lufthansa, Air France, British Airways, Air India, Cathay Pacific, Air Canada, and Turkish Airlines.

Israeli airlines El Al and Arkia, as well as Emirates, Etihad and the Russian airline Red Wing are still operating flights.

??Of the roughly 1,500 Tel Aviv flights scheduled between October 7 and October 12, more than 40 per cent -- or 600 individual flights -- have been canceled since the conflict erupted, according to data.

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