Carriers Scuttle Flights to Israel as FAA Tells Pilots to ‘Exercise Caution’

While international flights were suspended, Israeli airline El Al ramped up flights amid the country’s unprecedented call-up of 300,000 reserve troops.

Information sign about shelter during war in Gaza in the Ben Gurion Airport on 19th August, 2014 in Tel Aviv in Israel. Ben Gurion Airport is the biggest airport in Israel. [Credit: Shutterstock]

Flight operations at Ben Gurion International Airport (LLBG) in Tel Aviv, Israel, saw widespread cancellations and delays Monday as many major international carriers canceled service following the eruption of war after a large-scale deadly attack by Islamic militant group Hamas.

A rocket landed close to the airport Monday, according to media reports.

Travel disruptions are among the many latest developments for the country left reeling after a multifront surprise attack Saturday by more than 1,000 Hamas fighters that left an estimated more than 1,100 dead and thousands more wounded.

The airport has an average of 236 flight departures daily, according to FlightAware data. On Sunday, about 27 percent of flights into Israel had been canceled and about half were delayed.

About 37,000 air passengers travel to Israel daily, according to Cirium, an aviation analytics company.

By Monday, major carriers United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines all suspended service to Israel, The Associated Press reported Monday.

Not all carriers cut service, however. Israel airline El Al ramped up flights in order to bring Israeli reservists back to the country amid its unprecedented call-up of 300,000 reserve troops, Reuters reported. The airline had not canceled any flights, and many of its flights in and out of Israel were full, an El Al spokesperson told Reuters.

'Exercise Caution'

In a Notice to Air Missions, or NOTAM, published Monday, the FAA advised all air carriers and commercial air operators planning to fly into or out of Tel Aviv to "exercise caution."

"Due to the ongoing conflict situation in the region, between Israel and Gaza-based extremist militants, operators are advised to review current security, threat information and NOTAMs," the FAA said. "Delays are expected, [so] operators should calculate fuel accordingly."

Passengers traveling through the Tel Aviv airport were advised to be on alert to take shelter. 

"In light of the security situation in the state of Israel, Ben Gurion Airport is prepared in accordance with the orders of the Home Front Command," airport management said in a notice to travelers. "Given the need to evacuate the terminal when there is an alarm at the airport, the following instructions must be followed: When an alarm sounds, passengers are asked to obey the instructions of security personnel in order to reach the protected areas."

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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