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British Airways Threatens to Discipline Crew Members Who Are Scared of Flying to Tel Aviv Amidst Rising Tensions With Iran

British Airways Threatens to Discipline Crew Members Who Are Scared of Flying to Tel Aviv Amidst Rising Tensions With Iran

a plane taking off from a runway

British Airways has reportedly threatened to discipline crew members who are scared of flying to Tel Aviv amidst rising tensions between Israel and Iran, with Benjamin Netanyahu still weighing up a potential retaliatory strike following Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israel on Saturday night.

The airline resumed flights to Tel Aviv earlier this month following a near seven-month hiatus, and a scheduled flight on Monday went ahead as planned.

British Airways is operating flights to Tel Aviv via Larnaca for a short stopover, where there is a crew changeover in order to avoid pilots or cabin crew needing to stay overnight in Israel, although crew members fear they could still be stranded in Tel Aviv if there was a technical issue with the aircraft.

Crew members have sounded off about BA’s decision to resume direct flights to Tel Aviv in an internal message board but the airline insists that it is safe for them to go.

Some crew members have evoked memories of British Airways Flight 149, which landed in Kuwait on 2nd August 1990 just as Iraqi forces were laying siege to Kuwait City. All of the passengers and crew onboard the Boeing 747 were taken hostage, and the aircraft was later destroyed

In contrast to BA’s decision to continue flying to Tel Aviv, fellow British carrier easyJet has suspended flights to the Israeli city until the end of October at the earliest, citing crew safety concerns.

Meanwhile, other European flag carriers that initially grounded flights to Tel Aviv have now resumed services, although none of these airlines plan to layover crew members in the city.

United Airlines is the only international airline that was laying over its pilots and flight attendants in Israel, but the carrier was forced to evacuate stranded aircrew following Saturday night’s attack. The airline has now cancelled until Saturday at the earliest.

But with crew members voicing their fears of flying to Tel Aviv, British Airways has told cabin crew that if they refuse to operate a flight they are rostered that they’ll face disciplinary action.

“We should be fully aware and allowed to make our own informed choice as to whether we operate these flights – to anywhere in the region – and should we decline, we should be allowed to do so without fear of repercussions,” one crew member wrote on an internal message board.

Another added: “Crew do not want to operate but have no choice not to. Another airline has sent their crew home and cancelled the flights and they know it’s not safe to operate, why haven’t we?”

And a third crew member slammed: “BA really needs to pull their fingers out the cash till and put crew and passenger safety first.” 

British Airways did not comment on whether scared crew members would be disciplined for refusing to work flights to Tel Aviv, but a spokesperson said: “We keep the Tel Aviv situation under constant review. We would never operate any flight unless it was safe to do so.”

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