Amid escalating tensions in the Middle East, American Airlines pilots are advised to halt flights to Israel, joining other major airlines in prioritizing safety.
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Escalating Tensions in the Middle East Impact International Flights
Following the recent declaration of war in the region, the Allied Pilots Association has issued a directive to its members, cautioning against flights to Israel.
Ed Sicher, the President of the pilots union for American Airlines Group Inc., clearly prioritized the safety of flight crews and passengers.
Safety First: The Statement from the Union President
“It is not prudent or appropriate to knowingly put our flight crews and passengers in harm’s way by maintaining flights into a war zone,” Sicher proclaimed. “I am directing all pilots to cease flight operations to Israel until we can be reasonably assured of the region’s safety and security.”
His decision comes in light of recent alerts from the US State Department and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
US State Department and FAA Warnings
Highlighting the unpredictability of the situation, a travel advisory from the US State Department pointed out the potential risks of “mortar and rocket fire,” which “may take place without warning.” Furthermore, the FAA’s Notam (notice to air missions) urged air operators to exercise caution.
Sicher’s advice to pilots is explicit: “Until further notice, if you are scheduled, assigned, or reassigned a pairing into Israel, refuse the assignment by calling your Chief Pilot or IOC Duty Pilot. Inform them that you are refusing the assignment by the guidance and cautions issued by the State Department and the FAA.”
A Growing Trend: Other Airlines Joining the Suspension
American Airlines is not the only one taking precautions.
Following the violent outbreaks around the Gaza Strip that resulted in the tragic loss of over 700 Israelis and about 400 Palestinians, major airlines, including Air India Ltd and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, announced they would suspend their services to Israel.
The aviation industry’s response showcases the ripple effect of geopolitical tensions on global travel and commerce.
As airlines worldwide grapple with the situation, travelers are urged to stay informed and prioritize safety.