Skip to main content

UK’s easyJet suspends Israel flights through October after Iran attack

Britain’s biggest low-cost airline has suspended all service to Israel following Iran’s unprecedented attack on the Jewish state over the weekend.
ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

LONDON — Britain’s biggest low-cost airline easyJet on Tuesday suspended all flights to Israel for the next six months, citing the “situation in Israel” following Iran’s unprecedented attack on the Jewish state over the weekend. 

In a statement, the Luton-based airline announced, “As a result of the continued evolving situation in Israel, easyJet has now taken the decision to suspend its flights to Tel Aviv for the remainder of the summer season until 27 October.”

“Customers booked to fly on this route up [to] this date are being offered options including a full refund.”

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps launched a barrage of hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday night. Tehran said the attack was in response to the suspected April 1 Israeli bombing of the Iranian Consulate in Damascus, Syria, that saw the killing of seven senior Iranian military officials including two IRGC commanders.

While Israel and the United States, France and the United Kingdom managed to intercept almost all the projectiles coming from Iran, the country’s first direct attack on its regional rival sparked concerns of an all-out war in the region.  

Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq all closed their airspace on Saturday. Although all four Middle Eastern countries reopened their skies on Sunday, hundreds of flights were delayed, suspended or rerouted in a disruption that dragged into Tuesday.

EasyJet had announced on Monday that it had canceled scheduled flights to Israel through April 21 due to the security situation.

The suspension by easyJet, which operated around four flights to Tel Aviv a week from London Luton airport, will impact thousands of Jewish and Israeli travelers. The latest suspension is notably much longer than those of other airlines that have temporarily paused or rerouted flights in the Middle East following Iran’s attack on Saturday. Most airlines have suspended flights for a few days.

Other airlines such as Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Qantas and United Airlines suspended flights to Tehran and in the region last week. Most of those measures are still in place.

Middle East carriers such as Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways and El Al Israel Airlines resumed services, with some making route adjustments so that they don’t have to fly over Iranian airspace.

Ben Julius, founder of Tourist Israel, said he was surprised by easyJet setting its deadline so far into the future.

"We are surprised by easyJet's decision, which doesn't align with the decisions of other major airlines, most of whom have already resumed flights to Tel Aviv, with others resuming in the coming weeks," he told Al-Monitor. "We see that most of the flights to Israel are full and the main issue at the moment is a lack of capacity and therefore very high flight prices."

Julius said he was seeing a slow recovery in inbound tourism to Israel following the Oct. 7 attack and ensuing war in Gaza, adding that monthly growth has been around 20-30% in recent months.

He said that he has seen no impact this week on reservations for Tourist Israel's trips following the attack on Saturday.

"Even in the last two days, we have operated tours and have received new tourists who have landed here," Julius added.

Israel has vowed to respond to Iran’s attack but the Biden administration has urged restraint to avoid a major escalation. In a phone call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani late on Monday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi vowed that the country will respond to any Israeli attack.

“We firmly declare that the smallest action against Iran's interests will certainly be met with a severe, widespread and painful response against all its perpetrators,” Raisi said, according to a statement reported by the state-run IRNA news agency.

This developing story has been updated since initial publication.