Turkish Airlines said on Monday evening that it had suspended all flights to Israel, citing the “current situation” in the country but without elaborating on the specific reasons for grounding its flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.
The Istanbul-based airline normally operates up to 23 daily flights to Tel Aviv from its hub in the Turkish capital, as well as from Antalya and Izmir.
In a statement posted on its website, Turkish Airlines said passengers booked on flights to Israel up to October 23 would be able to request a full refund. The airline’s SVP for media relations said on social network X: “Due to the current situation in Israel, our flights have been suspended until further notice.”
Pegasus Airlines, a privately owned Turkish airline, also grounded its flights to Tel Aviv on Monday evening citing the “current situation in Israel”. Pegasus said flights would be suspended until October 31 at the earliest.
On Sunday, Delta Air Lines also said it would cancel its flights to Tel Aviv until October 31, while Finnair said it would be withdrawing from Israel until March 30, 2024.
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport has continued operating since Saturday, when Hamas terrorists launched a deadly assault on Israel, resulting in at least 1,000 civilian deaths.
The airport has, however, come under occasional rocket attack, and the Airport Authority of Israel has warned passengers to immediately seek shelter should a Red Alert siren sound.
The European Air Safety Agency (EASA) has issued a Conflict Zone advisory for EU airlines but has expressed confidence in the ability of the Israeli authorities to manage the threat to civilian aircraft and says flights can continue so as long as carriers have drawn up contingency plans.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.