|Air Serbia temporarily cancels Tel Aviv service over security concerns|
Air Serbia has temporarily suspended flights from Belgrade to Tel Aviv after a rocket landed just over one kilometre away from Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday evening. Most European airlines have cancelled their flights to Israel’s largest city today while US-based carriers have also halted all services to the country over the next 24 hours. In a statement, the Serbian national carrier, which was scheduled to operate its Tel Aviv service this morning, said, “Air Serbia announces that flights to Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv will be suspended for the next 24 hours. This measure has been taken to safeguard the security of passengers and crew, in light of the current unstable situation. Air Serbia continues to monitor the situation and will provide updates as further information comes to hand”. The Serbian national carrier operates daily flights to Tel Aviv with its Airbus A319.
The halt in service comes less than a week after Israel began a ground operation in Gaza and as airlines around the world re-think their flight paths over conflict areas in the wake of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it "strongly recommends" that airlines should avoid operating to and from Tel Aviv. Lufthansa, KLM, Air France, Alitalia, easyJet, Aeroflot, Transaero, Turkish Airlines, Delta and American Airlines are just some of the carriers to have cancelled their flights to Tel Aviv today. Yesterday, Israel's transportation ministry said, "Ben Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize". In addition, the ministry said airlines have “overreacted” to the security scare.
Elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia, Croatia Airlines is scheduled to operate its service from Zagreb and Dubrovnik to Tel Aviv tonight. The carrier is yet to issue a statement weather the flights will go ahead. Charter carrier Israir Airlines is scheduled to operate a flight from Tel Aviv to Ljubljana this morning. Israeli-based airlines have been unaffected by the security incident and continue to operate normally. Adria Airways is to run its service to Israel’s largest city from Ljubljana just after midnight. Currently, it is unknown whether these flights will go ahead and how the situation will unfold.
Adria Airways has now cancelled flight JP604 from Ljubljana to Tel Aviv which was to depart just after midnight.