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United Will Become One of the First Airlines to Make Aircrew Stay Overnight in Israel Following October 7 Terror Atrocity

United Will Become One of the First Airlines to Make Aircrew Stay Overnight in Israel Following October 7 Terror Atrocity

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United Airlines will become one of the first international carriers in the world to make pilots and flight attendants stay overnight in Israel as it prepares to resume flights to Tel Aviv following the October 7, 2023, Hamas terror attack on the country.

Defying its peers and rivals across the aviation industry, United Airlines will layover its aircrew in Tel Aviv between flights, saying that it has worked with security experts, as well as US government officials, to develop special protocols to keep staffers safe.

United will resume flights from Newark to Tel Aviv on March 2 with a special service that will make a brief stopover in Munich, Germany, before continuing onto Israel. There won’t be any service on March 3, but a second special flight with a stopover in Munich will again operate on March 4.

The brief stop in Munich will be for a crew changeover, which means that pilots and flight attendants operating these flights won’t be staying overnight in Israel, but United explains that the stopover is to “ensure all service providers are ready to support non-stop service to and from Newark”.

From March 6, United says it will resume daily nonstop flights between Newark and Tel Aviv which will require aircrew to stay at least for 24 hours in Israel. The airline also says it is “eager” to start a second daily flight from Newark as “demand recovers”.

According to aviation insider @xJonNYC on social media site X, sources claim bookings for the first Newark to Tel Aviv flight already look “very strong” and could be the carrier’s “star” revenue performer over the next few months.

Explaining its decision to allow aircrew to stay overnight in Tel Aviv, a spokesperson for United said the airline “conducted a detailed safety analysis in making this decision, including close work with security experts and government officials in the United States and Israel.”

“We also worked closely with the Air Line Pilots Association and the Association of Flight Attendants to develop the protocols to ensure they are safe and well-informed.”

The statement continued: “United will continue to monitor the situation in Tel Aviv and adjust the schedule as warranted, including changes to the resumed service from New York/Newark announced today”.

In contrast, other international airlines that have already resumed flights to Tel Aviv or are plotting their return in the coming weeks have amended their operations to avoid aircrew needing to stay in Israel.

Germany’s Lufthansa Group, for example, is operating so-called ‘turnaround’ services to Tel Aviv, where pilots and flight attendants don’t get off the plane and immediately turn around and go home.

This approach would be impossible for United, but it was believed that the airline might follow the lead of British Airways, which will operate flights from London to Tel Aviv via a short technical stop in Cyrus for a crew change when it resumes flights to Israel next month.

United is also considering resuming Tel Aviv service San Francisco, Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare, although these flights won’t restart until the Fall at the earliest.

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