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UPS flights to Israel still suspended, DHL operates

More airlines cut flights to Tel Aviv as war escalates

UPS is pausing cargo flights to Tel Aviv until further notice. (Photo: Shutterstock/Stanislav Samoylik)

(Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that FedEx was flying its aircraft to Tel Aviv. FedEx did resume service to Israel, but it appears to be tendering shipments to other airlines that continue to fly to Israel.)

UPS is maintaining a freeze on flights into Israel because of security concerns associated with operating in a war zone, while air express rival DHL continues 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) suspended purple-tail flights on Monday and on Tuesday issued a service bulletin stating that all FedEx International inbound and outbound service to and from Israel had been reinstated. However, no FedEx flights have been detected on flight tracking website FlightAware. A spokeswoman would only say, “We continue to provide service in Israel in line with government requirements and are closely monitoring the situation.” FedEx’s language suggests that the package carrier is using third-party airlift, including passenger airlines, to maintain network connections with Tel Aviv.

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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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals and a Silver Medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government and trade coverage, and news analysis. He was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In December 2022, he was voted runner up for Air Cargo Journalist by the Seahorse Freight Association. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]