Grounded: EasyJet cancels Tel Aviv flights from Manchester Airport as Gaza conflict continues

Easyjet have cancelled all flights to Tel-Aviv from Manchester Airport a day after a rocket narrowly missed the city’s airport.

MM revealed yesterday that the airliner was ‘monitoring the situation’ when a shell landed just one mile from the Ben Gurion airfield after intense fighting between Israelis and Palestinians.

And with the world still reeling from the MH17 disaster in Ukraine, easyJet have cancelled both their 12.15pm outbound and 11.55pm return flights to the troubled city today – with the next flights scheduled for Monday July 28.

After reporting that they were ‘technically not affected’ yesterday, a Manchester Airport spokesman confirmed that no planes bound for Tel-Aviv would leave today and said: “EasyJet have cancelled their flights for today.

“The last we heard is that they are continuing to monitor the situation over the next 24 hours.”

But with Mancunians clamouring to make it to Israel, Monday’s flights are already sold out and the next available easyJet flights are in week on July 31.

EasyJet, the only carrier to fly from Tel Aviv from Manchester, said the flight cancellations were to ensure the ‘safety and security of passengers and crew’.

They also pledged to ‘review operations on a day to day basis based on authorities’ advice’ on their Facebook page yesterday.

It is a similar story at fellow easyJet base London Luton Airport where flights have also been cancelled today and are sold out between Friday and Tuesday – despite uncertainty still hanging over whether they will get off the ground at all.

The only carrier still running flights to Tel Aviv is the country’s national flight provider El Al Israel Airlines and one of their flights left Luton at 9.40am this morning.

British Airways have continued to flout bans and warnings to continue operating flights to Ben Gurion, but have no scheduled flights today.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US airline authority, had 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’.

And the European Airline Safety Agency (EASA) followed suit, although stopped short of issuing an outright ban and instead ‘strongly recommending’ airlines to avoid flying to Israel.

However, the FAA lifted restrictions last night enabling US airlines to operate flights to the war-torn country.

An FAA spokesman said: “The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions, as necessary.”

The situation in Gaza continues to escalate as both ground and infantry offensives from Israel, as well as a blockade, continue to rage on leaving 710 Palestinians and 32 Israeli soldiers dead.

With Palestinian militant group Hamas refusing to agree to a ceasefire while the blockade, which is leaving 119,000 civilians running out of food and water, is in place, there is no sign of a break in the conflict which was rekindled by Israel on July 8.

And the fighting raised concerns of a repeat of the MH17 crash when a Malaysian Airlines jet was brought down by a surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 people.

Flight data and ‘black boxes’ are currently being analysed in Britain today.

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

Image courtesy of Aero Icarus, with thanks.

Related Articles