Updated: Friday, 23rd February 2018 @ 4:59pm

Gaza crisis: EasyJet consider cancelling Manchester to Tel Aviv flights after rocket lands ONE MILE from airport

Gaza crisis: EasyJet consider cancelling Manchester to Tel Aviv flights after rocket lands ONE MILE from airport

| By Liam Geraghty – MM exclusive

Airliner easyJet are considering at cancelling flights from Manchester Airport bound for Tel Aviv after a rocket landed near the Israeli airport.

With claims of a shell landing just one mile from the airfield, authorities are keen to avoid a repeat of the MH17 tragedy when a Malaysian Airlines flight crashed over war-torn Ukraine, reportedly after being hit by a missile.

And easyJet, the only carrier who operate flights to Tel Aviv from Manchester, are considering whether to join a host of European and American airlines by banning travel as Israelis and Palestinians clash in Gaza.

A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “Easyjet are monitoring the situation over the next 24 hours.

“However, as there are no flights from the airport to Tel Aviv today, we are technically not affected.”

The next Ben Gurion-bound flight from Manchester takes-off at 12.15pm tomorrow.

Similarly, easyjet flights from London Luton are also unaffected with the 7.05am and 11.10am flights both still scheduled to leave tomorrow.

However, the operator did confirm that four Luton and Basel flights were cancelled today on their Facebook page and pledged to ‘review operations on a day to day basis based on authorities’ advice’.

The 12.25 flight from the London airport and its 8.20pm return were cancelled because of the ‘safety and security of easyJet's passengers and crew’.

In addition, the 06.15am and 12.15pm return flights from the Swiss city to Tel Aviv were also suspended for the day.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US airline authority, has suspended flights to the region, forcing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call on America to reverse the ban amid fears that it could be seen as a ‘terror prize’.

But the European Airline Safety Agency (EASA) has followed suite and issued a warning to airlines to avoid flying to Israel.

Since Israel renewed hostilities in Gaza on July 8 with an infantry and artillery offensive to halt rocket fire, at least 649 Palestinians and 31 Israelis have been killed, according to officials.

With the death toll soaring, authorities are keen to risk another air disaster, such as the MH17 crash last week, where 298 people are believed to have perished.

The crash and the subsequent issues with access to the site and the returning of the dead bodies to their families has caused airlines to reassess flight paths over conflict zones.

Image courtesy of Mark Harkin, with thanks.