Skift Take

The three big U.S. carriers are taking very different approaches to the resumption of Tel Aviv services.

American Airlines has delayed its return to Israel until at least October. The carrier confirmed to Skift that operations to and from Tel Aviv will remain suspended until October 26, 2024. 

In line with most other international airlines, American halted all flights to the country after the start of the Israel-Gaza war in early October 2023. The latest development means the company will be out of the Israeli market for at least a year. 

Although American won’t be flying nonstop to Israel this summer, it says alternative options will be available. This includes traveling via London with British Airways.

“We will continue working closely with our partner airlines to assist customers traveling between Israel and European cities with service to the U.S.,” a spokesperson told Skift. 

The company added that “the safety and security of customers and team members remain [its] highest priorities.” 

In response to the delay, American Airlines has extended its travel alert allowing affected travelers the option to rebook without fees or receive a full refund. 

Difference of Approach Among U.S. Carriers

Before the conflict, American was one of three U.S. carriers to fly nonstop to and from Israel. Delta Air Lines told Skift that April 30 remains its “tentative plan” for resuming operations to Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, a United Airlines spokesperson said its flights to the country will remain suspended “until conditions allow them to resume.”

U.S. operators have been relatively slow to return to the Israeli market, particularly compared to European counterparts. On January 8, the Lufthansa Group restarted services to Tel Aviv, with Air France following suit on January 24.

Ryanair, Wizz Air, British Airways, and easyJet are all due back on the arrivals board in the coming weeks.

Although the security situation in and around Israeli airspace deteriorated following the October attacks, authorities continued to allow commercial flights at the airline’s discretion.

Along with flag carrier El Al, local firms Arkia Israeli Airlines and Israir Airlines have maintained most of their scheduled network during the war. A small band of international airlines have also kept flying including Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi and Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa.

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Tags: american airlines, delta air lines, israel, tel aviv, united airlines

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Jakkrit Prasertwit Wikimedia Commons/Jakkrit Prasertwit / Wikimedia Commons/Jakkrit Prasertwit

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