Ben Gurion airport eerily quiet as airlines cut flights

Ben Gurion Airport / Photo: Dudi Mor

El Al, Ryanair and Wizz Air are among carriers trimming schedules while Lufthansa has canceled all flights to Israel, as virus restrictions hit hard.

In the wake of Israel's decision because of the Covid-19 virus to block all non-Israelis entering Israel from France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Austria in addition to Italy and most of the countries in East Asia, passenger traffic at Ben Gurion Airport has been dramatically reduced.

Yesterday Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Swiss, and Austrian Airlines) canceled all flights to Israel between March 8 and 28, Ryanair suspended all flights between Italy and Israel and Wizz Air suspended its Vienna-Tel Aviv and Vienna-Eilat routes. Previously El Al had suspended all routes to East Asia, Italy and other European cities. Many other carriers have suspended routes and trimmed schedules due to plummeting demand.

Yesterday the Israel Airports Authority cut its estimate for passenger traffic in 2020 from 25.5 million to 24 million, similar to 2019.

The Israel Airports Authority said that countries now on Israel's Ministry of Health blacklist - banning entry of non-Israelis and requiring Israelis to undergo two weeks self-quarantine - are responsible for 30% of the passenger traffic at Ben Gurion Airport - including Italy, France and Germany (6% each), Spain 4%, and Switzerland 3%.

The Israel Airports Authority reports that 530 flights to and from Ben Gurion Airport were canceled in January and February and 1,662 more flights in the first week of March alone and that was before Lufthansa Group cancelled its 70 weekly flights.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 6, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Ben Gurion Airport / Photo: Dudi Mor
Ben Gurion Airport / Photo: Dudi Mor
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