The first US charter jet departing Israel arrives in Athens

The Biden administration confirmed that the first charter flight organized by the U.S. State Department to evacuate Americans from Israel amid the Gaza conflict has arrived in Athens. The White House is also considering sea routes for departures. The government aims to provide more options, and these flights will continue, according to White House spokesman John Kirby.


The first flight was reported by Reuters, which confirmed its landing based on flight records from a U.S.-based charter company. Additional charter flights between Athens and Tel Aviv are planned until at least Oct. 19. Over 400 Americans were registered for the first flight, but it was expected that some might not show up. To assist Americans trying to return home from Israel, United Airlines announced an additional roundtrip flight between Newark, New Jersey, and Athens until Oct. 19. Delta Air Lines will add three flights from Athens to New York starting Monday, and American Airlines will use larger planes for its Athens to New York route starting Saturday.

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Direct flights to Israel have been temporarily suspended by United, American, and Delta. Over 30 U.S. lawmakers urged the three airlines' CEOs to resume flights to Tel Aviv as soon as possible and offered their assistance. Delta, which has suspended flights until Oct. 31, is continuously monitoring the security situation. Delta's CEO Ed Bastian stated that they currently have no plans to fly into Israel due to safety concerns.

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The State Department mentioned that scheduling everyone seeking to depart will take some time. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Verma informed airlines earlier this week that the U.S. government had received approximately 17,000 inquiries about travel assistance leaving Israel.

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