The Knesset Economics Committee is meeting today to discuss the ban on Israelis flying abroad, which came into effect on September 25. The Committee has the powers to end the restriction but the cabinet is anyway expected to life the ban as part of a relaxation on the lockdown to be announced later this week.
As a result of the ban on Israelis traveling abroad, if they had not bought tickets by September 25, airlines canceled 216 flights to and from Ben Gurion airport between October 1 and October 7.
The worst hit airlines were low-cost carriers hoping to airlift tens of thousands of Israelis to and from Greece and other nearby European destinations for the holiday period. Blue Bird airlines cancelled 108 flights, Ryanair cancelled 26 flights, Israir cancelled 14 flights, Wizz Air cancelled 12 flights, and Arkia and El Al each cancelled seven flights.
Many other flights flew to and from Israel with few passengers. On October 7 the British Airways Tel Aviv to London flight took off with just seven passengers, or 2% occupancy. Air Canada's flight the same day to Toronto had 25 passengers, 8% occupancy, while United's daily flight to Newark fared much better with 61 passengers of 21% occupancy, and Delta's New York flight had 78 passengers or 27% occupancy.
Israir has petitioned the High Court of Justice on the matter claiming that there is no health logic or justification to banning Israelis from traveling abroad. Meanwhile there is no end in sight to the ban on non-Israeli citizens entering Israel.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 11, 2020
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