October 11, 2023

UPS flights to Israel still suspended, FedEx and DHL operate


UPS is maintaining a freeze on flights into Israel because of security concerns associated with operating in a war zone, while air express rivals FedEx and DHL continue to fly to the country’s main airport in Tel Aviv.

UPS Airlines (NYSE: UPS) flights to Israel are still suspended, spokeswoman Michelle Polk said.

“UPS is closely monitoring the situation and we have temporarily suspended operations in Israel including all inbound and outbound flights until further notice,” the Atlanta-based logistics integrator said in an online service bulletin. “Our focus is on safety while we work to minimize disruption to our customers.”

FedEx Express (NYSE: FDX) is flying to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport after a one-day stoppage. The express delivery company on Monday announced a two-day flight suspension while it assessed the situation but resumed flight operations there on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, DHL Express has continued air cargo flights to Tel Aviv without interruption since Hamas militants from Gaza invaded Israel over the weekend.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, which operates a large fleet of jumbo jet freighters in addition to widebody passenger aircraft, said Wednesday that all flights to Tel Aviv through Oct. 29 have been canceled. U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines previously said it would not fly to Israel for the rest of the month, and Delta Cargo issued an advisory that it has implemented an embargo for Tel Aviv on imports and exports until then.

Meanwhile, American Airlines cut flights to Tel Aviv until at least Dec. 5 after Israeli officials warned of a lengthy war.

British Airways also announced Wednesday that it is suspending service to Israel and ordered one of its jets to return to London just before landing at Ben Gurion Airport. Air France/KLM suspended all flights to Israel until further notice, and the cargo division said it has closed all cargo bookings and operations to Tel Aviv until Oct. 20.

The steep drop in passenger flights to Israel reduces a major conduit for shipping goods and raises the question of whether freighter operators will step into the void to maintain trade for Israel.

Exports account for about 40% of Israel’s gross domestic product, according to Trading Economics. Top export commodities include diamonds and other precious metals and stones; electrical machinery and equipment; sound and TV recorders; and computer equipment.

A DHL freighter is parked at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. (Photo: Shutterstock/ShU Studio)

Challenge Air, Israel’s only all-cargo operator, has maintained service to Israel from its hub at Liege airport in Belgium. A Challenge Air Boeing 747-400 departed on Wednesday for Hong Kong, according to flight tracking website Flightaware. Israel flag carrier El Al is also flying a full passenger schedule.

Lufthansa flights to Israel are shut down until Saturday, but Lufthansa Cargo flights resumed on Wednesday.

Poland-based SkyTaxi is operating to Israel. Flightradar24 tracking data shows one of the company’s Boeing 767 freighters is scheduled to arrive in Tel Aviv Wednesay night.

U.S. and European aviation authorities have alerted carriers to the need to follow risk-management practices but have not restricted flights to Israel.

OPS Group, a member-supported information exchange for pilots, air traffic controllers and dispatchers, is warning airlines to stay away from Israeli airspace because of the high risk that an aircraft could be mistakenly shot down, hit by debris or receive counterfeit GPS signals that send it off course.

Freightos, a freight technology company based in Jerusalem, is continuing business as usual and all its workers are safe, spokesperson Tali Aronsky said via email. Freightos operates a neutral platform that helps importers or exporters compare, book and manage shipments across multiple forwarders and international carriers.

More than 1,000 people were killed by Hamas invaders crossing from Gaza, according to the Israeli government.

Freight forwarder Expeditors said freight transportation between Israel and Jordan has been impacted because the border crossing has been closed.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


FedEx, UPS suspend freighter flights to Israel


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