United Airlines to resume direct flights to Israel next month

United Airlines said it plans to resume direct U.S. flights to Israel early next month, becoming the first American carrier to resume service since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on southern Israel.
FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines passenger jet taxis at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, U.S., Dec. 6, 2019.
FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines passenger jet taxis at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, U.S., Dec. 6, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -United Airlines said on Wednesday it plans to resume direct U.S. flights to Israel early next month, becoming the first American carrier to resume service since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel.

United, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines all suspended U.S. service to Israel in October following the attack.

Chicago-based United said it will resume flights from Newark to Tel Aviv next month but does not plan to restart flights from other U.S. cities until at least this fall.

Restarting U.S. carrier flights to Tel Aviv signals a potential turning point for travel to Israel, after tourism dried up on security fears following the Hamas rampage and subsequent Israel bombardment of Gaza.

United said its goal is to resume daily nonstop service to Tel Aviv starting March 6 from Newark on a Boeing 787-10.

On March 2 and March 4, the airline said it will operate flights from Newark to Tel Aviv with a stop in Munich, Germany, with return flights from Israel to Newark on March 3 and March 5.

United said it "conducted a detailed safety analysis in making this decision, including close work with security experts and government officials in the United States and Israel."

The Israeli Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

United said it "will continue to monitor the situation in Tel Aviv and adjust the schedule as warranted, including changes to the resumed service from New York/Newark announced today."

Before Oct. 7, United had four direct flights daily to Tel Aviv from Newark, San Francisco, Washington and Chicago. The airline said the flights where service has not yet resumed "will be evaluated for resumption beginning in the fall."

Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Aegean and Air France are among other airlines that have restarted flights to Tel Aviv.

Delta has canceled flights to Israel through April 30 while American Airlines has halted flights through Oct. 28. Last October, more than 30 U.S. lawmakers urged the airlines to resume flights to Israel "as soon as possible."

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Deepa Babington)

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