Delta Suspends Flights to Israel, United Keeps Flying for Now

Delta Air Lines jets are parked at John F. Kennedy International Airport, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Delta Airlines is suspending flights between New York and Tel Aviv, the company announced Tuesday night. The announcement comes on the heels of an order by the Israeli Health Ministry that all individuals who enter Israel must self-quarantine for two weeks, as Israel desperately tries to keep down the number of those infected with coronavirus.

In a statement, the airline said that flights would be suspended between March 14th and 24th, at which point Delta will reevaluate the situation and decide on further steps. Passengers who have tickets for those dates can rebook flights on Delta for a future date, or on other carriers, the company said. Calcalist reported that many of Delta’s employees in Israel have been told to stay at home, although they are still getting paid. United, which also flies the New York-Tel Aviv route, has not cut any of its 14 weekly flights to and from Israel. Flights to Washington and San Francisco continue as usual, for now.

On Tuesday, Turkish Airlines said it would cut its weekly flights to and from Israel from 10 to 2, beginning Saturday night. Also suspending flights is Virgin Atlantic, which just recently started flying a Tel Aviv-London route. El Al, meanwhile, told the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that it expected the coronavirus crisis to “significantly harm” its profit outlook for the coming period. With self-quarantine now required for all travelers, the airline expects massive cancellations. The company will continue “modifying its staff numbers in response to the situation,” the airline said.

On Wednesday, Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri approved a new rule whereby all foreign nationals would be barred from entering Israel – unless they could prove that they were able to remain in quarantine for 14 days. The rule does not apply to residents of China, South Korea, Thailand, Italy, Macau, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Egypt; people from those countries cannot enter Israel at all, the new rules say.