Rescue Flights for Israelis Stranded Abroad Get Green Light

The departure hall at the almost empty Ben Gurion Airport. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

As the Israeli government begins the relaxation of the coronavirus lockdown, permission was given to El Al and Israir to operate rescue flights of thousands of Israelis stranded abroad, Globes reported on Monday.

El Al will have two flights taking off from Ben Gurion Tuesday afternoon February 9 and returning to Israel from New York on February 11 and February 13. A one-way fare will cost $600 including baggage and El Al passengers holding tickets for a canceled flight will be allowed to board the planes at no additional charge.

The Israeli government is also set to approve a special rescue flight to Dubai, and Israir will continue its daily rescue flights between Tel Aviv and Frankfurt, a designated way station for Israelis looking for a return flight.

Passengers must have received in advance permission to fly from the Israeli government’s exemptions committee. They also will need a negative Covid-19 test from the previous 72 hours before boarding the flight and complete a health declaration form.

All passengers arriving in Israel must go into isolation in a state-sponsored hotel for 14 days, or 10 days if they test negative for Covid-19 on arrival at Ben Gurion airport and after nine days in the country.

Ministry of Health international relations department head Asher Shalmon stipulated that the state-sponsored hotels are limited in capacity to 600 passengers per day, and asked the authorities take this into account.