Airline Operations in Israel Amid Conflict: Safety, Insurance, and Evacuation Challenges

Airlines are facing challenges with the safety of evacuation operations in Israel due to the ongoing conflict. KLM, a Dutch airline, has canceled flights while Air France, its sister airline, has arranged a special relief flight chartered by the French foreign ministry. The conflict between Palestinian Hamas militants and Israel has raised concerns about insurance coverage, especially with the increasing apprehension among some airlines and insurers about the safety of airspace near Tel Aviv's airport. Despite Hamas' claim of hitting Ben Gurion Airport with rockets, the airport denies it.

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Most rockets aimed at Tel Aviv have been intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome system and none have landed at the airport. However, airlines are still hesitant to use the airport without more guidance. Norwegian Air had to cancel a planned evacuation flight as its insurers refused to provide cover. It later scheduled a new flight from Eilat in southern Israel in collaboration with Norway's foreign ministry.

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Insurers are informing airlines that they may reassess their existing policies, although no cancellations have been reported yet according to a broker who spoke to Reuters. The Israeli parliamentary finance committee has approved a plan to provide a state guarantee of $6 billion to cover war risks to Israeli airlines.


Foreign airlines are finding it difficult to agree on a common approach. The CEO of European budget airline Ryanair suggested that governments should guide the way forward. The International Air Transport Association held a security call with global airline members this week, advising airlines to communicate with their respective governments and assess the risk.

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