Israel’s escalating conflict with the Palestinians saw several airlines on Thursday suspend services to the Jewish state amid global alarm and diplomatic efforts to halt the spiralling violence.
– KLM –
Dutch airline KLM has halted flights to Israel for the time being, Dutch public broadcaster NOS said. A flight from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport that was postponed earlier in the week due to the violence has been cancelled for good and KLM is deciding whether a flight due on Sunday can go ahead, NOS said.
– BA, Virgin –
British Airways cancelled its service to and from Tel Aviv on Thursday and Virgin Atlantic also did the same for Thursday and Friday.
Both airlines said they are monitoring the situation closely.
– Lufthansa –
Germany’s flag carrier cancelled flights for Thursday and Friday, adding: “Lufthansa expects to resume its flight operations to Israel beginning Saturday, May 15.”
– Aeroflot –
Aeroflot cancelled its Moscow-Tel Aviv flight for Friday but did not specify if others would be cancelled in the coming days.
– Iberia –
The Spanish airline cancelled its flight Madrid to Tel Aviv for Thursday and Friday-Saturday’s return leg.
An Iberia spokeswoman told AFP: “We will take further decisions based on the evolution of the situation.”
– US airlines –
United, which operates 18 flight weekly to Israel, said it was suspending operations.
Delta and American Airlines also confirmed they have suspended services between New York and Tel Aviv.
– LOT –
The Polish airline said it had “suspended flights to Israel for the moment”. Spokesman Krzysztof Moczulski added: “I suppose that we will not be flying there in the coming days”.
The Lufthansa, Air France/KLM have been given the approval by the Federal Government to resume operations into Nigeria.
This was announced by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in a tweet on Tuesday.
The Minister in the tweet also hinted at the possible reopening of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Port Harcourt International Airport, and Enugu Airport before the end of the year.
He added that Qatar Airways has been granted approval to resume flights to Abuja.
“We are working with Ministry of Health, CACOVID & The PTF to open Kano, Port Harcourt & possibly Enugu airports before the end of the year. Also Lufthansa, Air France/KLM have been given go-ahead to resume. Qatar Airways is approved to start Abuja. Thank you for your patience,” the Tweet read.
We are working with Ministry of Health, CACOVID & The PTF to open Kano, Port Harcourt & possibly Enugu airports before the end of the year. Also Lufthansa, Air France/KLM has been given go ahead to resume. Qatar Airways is approved to start Abuja. Thank you for your patience🙏🏽🇳🇬
Dutch national airline KLM said Friday it will cut up to 2,000 jobs as it battled the impact of the new coronavirus outbreak, and announced other cost-cutting measures.
Chief executive Pieter Elbers said KLM — which has around 33,000 employees — will also ask personnel to work shortened hours, while grounding its fleet of six Boeing 747s from April 1.
“In the coming months we’ll reduce 1,500 to 2,000 jobs to mean that not only in the coming weeks, but in the coming months we will have fewer colleagues,” Elbers said in a video message posted on KLM’s website.
The airline’s top official said the job cuts mainly included part-time workers, those destined for retirement and natural attrition.
“We believe this is adequate to ensure that there are no other forced retrenchments,” Elbers said.
The Dutch carrier, which merged with Air France in 2004, predicted that flight numbers would drop by 20 percent in March and 30 percent in April as the airline suspended flights to China and Italy as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Air-France KLM warned Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak will hit its business harder in the coming months after February passenger numbers fell by 0.5 percent.
Last month, Air France-KLM put the coronavirus cost to the airline at 150-200 million euros up to April.
“A lot has happened in the last five days,” Elbers said as the number of cases globally climbed to 140,720 with 5,347 deaths across 124 countries and territories.
Dutch airline KLM said Friday it has suspended its flights over the Strait of Hormuz after Iran shot down a US drone in the strategic region.
“Safety is the top priority for KLM,” it said in a statement.
“We closely follow all developments that may be related to the safety of airspace 24/7 and we organise the operation in such a way that the safety of the flights is guaranteed.
“The incident with the drone is reason not to fly over the Strait of Hormuz for the time being. This is a precautionary measure.”
Iran’s downing of the drone — which Washington insists was above international waters but Iran says was within its airspace — has seen tensions between the two countries spike further after a series of attacks on tankers the US has blamed on Tehran.
The United States and European airlines have suspended flights to Israel’s Ben Gurion airport after a rocket landed one mile away.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered three US carriers that fly to Israel – Delta, United and US Airways – to halt flights for 24 hours.
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also said it “strongly recommends” that airlines should avoid operating to and from Tel Aviv.
The suspension prompted Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to ask the US to renew flights to Israel.
Israel Airport Authority also said the U.S. companies made the decisions on their own, and it urged them to reconsider, saying the airport was safe. “There is no reason that American carriers should stop flying to Israel and thus give a prize to terror,” airport authority said.
Even before the announcement, Swiss, Germanwings and Austrian Airlines said they had decided to suspend flights to Israel for two days while KLM also said they had suspended flights ahead of the EASA’s advisory.
The halt in service of the airlines comes less than a week after Israel began a ground operation in Gaza, and as airlines around the world re-think their flight paths over conflict areas in the wake of the crash of Malaysia airlines flight Mh17 in eastern Ukraine.