British Airways announced on Wednesday that it would ban all flights to Tel Aviv after diverting a flight from London back to the United Kingdom due to security concerns in Israel.
At the time, Israel’s airports authorities stated that there was no security threat at the airport.Governments and airlines have attempted to increase flights from Israel to evacuate their citizens, while others have attempted to fly reservists back into Israel.
Aviation authorities have cautioned airlines flying into Israel but haven’t grounded flights altogether, with some experts warning that the current airspace situation was risky due to ongoing rocket attacks.
“Safety is always our highest priority and we’ve taken the decision to return our Tel Aviv flight to Heathrow (Airport),” a spokesperson for British Airways said.
British Airways had operated a single daily flight to Tel Aviv before the suspension, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar.
Since the surprise attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel on Saturday, many international airlines have suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv.
A spokesperson for Israel’s airports authority said rockets were flying around Tel Aviv at the time but were not an immediate threat to the flight or to Ben Gurion Airport.
She said the diversion back to Britain was the pilot’s decision and that no other flights were diverted.
With British Airways’ suspension, no IAG-owned (ICAG.L) airlines are now offering flights to Tel Aviv, a spokesperson for the group said.
Flightradar showed the flight in question, BA165, had almost reached Tel Aviv before beginning its return to London.