Key Points:

  • British Airways rerouted Flight BA165 back to Heathrow shortly before landing in Tel Aviv due to safety concerns.

  • Multiple international airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, suspend flights to Tel Aviv following recent attacks.

  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) urges citizens in Israel to register their presence and advises against non-essential travel.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic suspend Tel Aviv flights

UK Government Advises Citizens in Israel Amid Tensions

Amid increasing security concerns, British Airways turned back Flight BA165 just moments before its scheduled landing in Tel Aviv. The airline confirmed that the plane safely returned to Heathrow. During the flight's approach to Tel Aviv, air raid sirens echoed through the city, prompting the airline's teams to decide on the flight's turnaround.

Airline Responses Amidst Regional Tensions

Virgin Atlantic, along with British Airways, opted to suspend its flights to Tel Aviv on Wednesday, with both emphasizing that the safety and security of passengers is paramount. An official statement from British Airways read, "Following our latest assessment of the situation, we're suspending our flights to and from Tel Aviv." They also highlighted their commitment to assisting affected passengers, offering options such as full refunds or rebookings.

The flight interruptions come in the wake of attacks on Israel by the Palestinian militant group, Hamas. As a result, numerous international carriers, including giants like EasyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air, Air France, Lufthansa, and Emirates, have put a pause on their flights to and from Tel Aviv.

Guidance from the UK Government

In the wake of the escalating situation, the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is advising against all but essential travel to Israel and other adjacent areas. Additionally, they have urged British citizens present in the region to register their details for crucial updates.

James Cleverly, the UK's Foreign Secretary, highlighted the unique situation many Brits face, stating that numerous dual nationals view Israel as their permanent home. He assured that the UK government is committed to providing support in conjunction with the Israeli government. Cleverly added, "We are actively collaborating with the aviation industry, discussing border issues, and in dialogue with Egypt concerning Britons in Gaza."

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