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Air cargo operators suspend flights to Israel

Major international carriers, including FedEx and UPS, have temporarily suspended freighter flights to Israel. 
Major international carriers, including FedEx and UPS, have temporarily suspended freighter flights to Israel. 

Due to a significant escalation in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, major international carriers, including FedEx and UPS, have temporarily suspended freighter flights to Israel. 

This follows a large-scale attack by Hamas insurgents from Gaza over the weekend. 

FedEx and UPS weighs in

According to Freightwaves, these suspensions have created challenges. However, other dedicated cargo operators are stepping up to maintain the flow of air cargo traffic amidst the heightened risks in the air and at Tel Aviv airport.

Both FedEx Express and UPS, major players in the global logistics arena, have confirmed the suspension of their flights to Israel. “We are closely monitoring the situation and have temporarily suspended flights into and out of Israel. Service disruptions may occur,” says FedEx in a statement. On the other hand, UPS assured that they have contingency plans in place to ensure the swift movement of existing shipments in Israel to their destinations as soon as it is deemed safe.

According to Reuters, civil aviation authorities in the US, European Union, and Israel have urged caution for airlines operating in the region. They have not imposed any flight restrictions as yet.

Air cargo options

Israel’s aviation regulator has advised carriers to review security measures, alter flight paths, and carry more fuel. As a result, flights at Tel Aviv airport are experiencing an average delay of 42 to 60 minutes, as reported by aircraft tracking site Flightradar24.


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Israel’s air cargo market, though relatively small with 300,000 to 400,000 metric tons of goods carried annually, is vital for the nation. 

Amidst the chaos, Challenge Group, Israel’s sole all-cargo operator, remains operational, utilizing its hub at Liege Airport in Belgium to maintain vital supply chains. 

Gianluca Marcangelo, head of industry relations and marketing at Challenge Group, emphasizes their commitment to supporting the local economy while ensuring the safety of their staff and assets.

Flight schedules affected

About 50% of scheduled Tel Aviv flights did not operate on Sunday October 8, with a third canceled on Monday evening in Israel. 

US carriers United Airlines and American Airlines suspended direct flights to Israel following the Federal Aviation Administration’s cautionary advice. Delta Air Lines also announced the cancellation of flights to and from Israel for the entire month. European airlines have followed suit, canceling numerous flights causing significant disruptions in air travel.

Experts in the aviation industry, such as Stan Wraight, CEO of aviation advisory firm SASIWorld, anticipate a surge in cargo charters to compensate for the lost capacity on passenger aircraft if the conflict persists.

Despite the challenges and risks, Israel’s national carrier, El Al, maintains a full flight schedule. The airline is even adding flights to repatriate reservists called into duty by the government.

About the author

Marce has contributed tech to various prominent publications since 2018, offering a transparent perspective into the tech industry and its effects on its users. She now spends her time developing insightful content for industry players. You know, when she's not gaming or geeking out about the latest fad.

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