Israel’s national airline to halt flights to South Africa

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Israel’s national airline to halt flights to South Africa
Israel’s national airline El Al will stop offering flights to South Africa from the end of March, the airline said on Friday, citing reduced customer demand.

El Al currently has up to two non-stop flights to Johannesburg a week.

“Due to the current security situation, there has been a significant decrease in demand among Israeli travellers to various destinations, including Johannesburg in South Africa,” El Al said in a statement.

“In light of this, starting at the end of March 2024, we will suspend the activity on the Johannesburg-Tel Aviv line.”

“Israelis don’t want to fly to South Africa,” a spokeswoman for the airline said.

“They are cancelling flights and planes are pretty empty… We understand it’s the situation because it was different before,” the spokeswoman added.

The announcement comes shortly before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is due to deliver a preliminary judgement on whether to order Israel to halt its military operations in Gaza.

The hearing at the ICJ is part of a case brought by South Africa, accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians.

Israel vehemently denies the accusation.

South Africa has been an outspoken supporter of the Palestinians in the ongoing conflict, resulting in tensions with Israel.

“Israelis don’t want to fly to South Africa,” a spokeswoman for the airline said. El Al currently has up to two non-stop flights to Johannesburg a week.

“They are cancelling flights and planes are pretty empty… We understand it’s the situation because it was different before,” the spokeswoman added.

“The fact that the Israelis don’t want to go to South Africa but do want to go to other places helps us decide that we’re pausing that route,” she said. The company also cited the current security situation.

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