United Airlines Pauses Flights to Israel as Iran Launches Drone Attack

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Airlines are halting service to Israel as tensions in the Middle East escalate due to Iran’s “imminent attack” on Israel.

United Airlines said it was canceling its service to Tel Aviv on Saturday, as reports came out that Iran was launching drones toward Israel.

Due to Iran’s attack, airspace over Israel, Iran, Iraq and Jordan has been restricted. United said it was monitoring the situation. United said it was evaluating its Saturday services to Amman and is currently not planning to cancel its Sunday flights to Tel Aviv.

“We have canceled Saturday’s planned flight from Newark to Tel Aviv and its associated return flight due to restrictions on Israeli airspace,” a United spokesperson said. “We are closely monitoring the situation and will make decisions on upcoming flights with a focus on the safety of our customers and crews.”

Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the Iranian attack is expected to reach Israel at 2am on Sunday (11 p.m. GMT on Saturday).

Delta Air Lines recently resumed service to Israel in March, but it’s unclear if the carrier has stopped flights to Tel Aviv due to the attack. Delta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

United’s suspension of its flight to Tel Aviv comes as tensions in the Middle East have escalated over the Israel-Hamas war. U.S. intelligence agencies reported earlier in the week that an attack from Iran on Israel was imminent.

Lufthansa suspended flights to Tehran after the intelligence reports became public. Qantas Airways said Friday that it would not fly over Middle East airspace due to Iran’s attacks. Kuwait Airways said Saturday that it would divert all its flights from “the areas of tension.”

It is unclear if the U.S. will impose any similar restrictions over Middle East airspace if tensions continue to escalate. The FAA said to Skift that it was not changing any restrictions at the moment. 

Airlines operating in the region are well-versed in making continuous security assessments.

Most international carriers halted all flights to Tel Aviv after the start of the Israel-Gaza war in early October 2023. Many airlines including easyJet and British Airways had resumed services to the country.

This story is breaking and will be updated. 

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