Vueling organizes a special flight to take travelers bound for Barcelona from Tel Aviv
The open war between Israel and Palestine this Saturday with the attacks from Gaza and the immediate Israeli counteroffensive have affected, as expected, commercial aviation operations in the country. This has resulted in significant delays, detours and cancellations at Israeli facilities.
Shortly after the unexpected attacks on Saturday the 7th, several flights destined for Tel Aviv were diverted to Larnaca airport in Cyprus. For their part, the Ryanair planes that were flying to Israel at that time decided to return to their airports of origin.
Even an intercontinental United Airlines flight returned to the place where it departed, San Francisco. The change of criteria occurred when the Boeing 777-300 was already flying over Greenland, in the middle of a long flight between California and the Eastern Mediterranean. The passengers of UA954 traveled more than 13 hours to land at the same airport where they boarded.
Other companies that had night flights, such as Vueling, which operates at dawn over the Mediterranean, decided to directly suspend the operation due to the uncertainty of the moment. This Sunday, the IAG group company based in Barcelona, decided to schedule an extra flight both for passengers who could not fly last night and for those who were going to travel this morning on the regular link that has also been suspended.
From the operations management it was decided to fly the company's aircraft with the greatest capacity: an Airbus A321, specifically the one registered as EC-MLM. In airline configuration, the aircraft can carry up to 220 passengers.
The special flight left at 11:30 a.m. Sunday and landed at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport four hours later. The plane remained on the ground for just over an hour and a half. At five in the afternoon, Spanish peninsular time, it took off again towards Rome Fiumicino, both to be able to refuel and to carry out a crew change and then complete the flight to Barcelona, where it plans to arrive at midnight.
A plane that, according to the company, was not filled
Company sources commented to The vanguard that despite being the largest plane, it, in the end, was not full. According to his spokesperson, those affected by the cancellations were informed through emails and mobile messages that they had that special flight at their disposal, in which the entire boarding process had to be done manually.
Thus, on this Vueling 7845, the flight number used for direct links between Tel Aviv and Barcelona and which this time has an intermediate stopover in Italy, just over a hundred people have boarded, including the crew who spent the night in Israel yesterday. and he could not return on the assigned plane last night, because it did not arrive.
The number of flights to Tel Aviv drops significantly
Last night the number of flights to and from Tel Aviv already decreased significantly. Ben Gurion is Israel's main airport and although Haifa and Eilat-Ramon also have international flights, Tel Aviv is the country's true air gateway: in 2022 it handled 20 million passengers. During this Sunday afternoon, very long queues formed at the check-in counters of this airport, the product of a mix of delays, cancellations, some failures in the computer systems and the general uncertainty that plagues the area.
The airspace over the state of Israel has also been affected and notices have already been issued to pilots (NOTAM in English) warning that extreme precautions should be taken on flights to and from the country, also asking that they always contact the authority. Israeli aviation, as it is constantly monitoring the situation. They offer aviators and airlines the latest information and extraordinary precautions or restrictions.
The armed conflict is developing and during the next few days commercial flights there will be greatly affected. So far, 50% of scheduled links have been suspended, a percentage that could increase in the coming hours.
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