Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv
Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv

Safety of visitors to Israel is paramount, says IGTO’s Allon

TORONTO — Air Canada says Tel Aviv-bound passengers can change their flights free of charge, but it remains to be seen when the airline’s next Tel Aviv flight will operate after it cancelled last night’s outbound flight from Toronto.

Yesterday’s move came after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ordered U.S. carriers not to fly into Ben Gurion Airport for 24 hours, following a close call near the airport with a Hamas-fired missile.

A statement on Air Canada’s website says “Air Canada passengers scheduled to travel to, from or via Tel Aviv between now and July 31 with an Air Canada ticket issued no later than July 8, are asked to contact Air Canada Reservations for a flight change free of charge, to another date between July 22 and Dec. 10, subject to availability.

“Passengers may also choose to travel to an alternate destination. Change fees will be waived, provided passengers are travelling between July 22 and Dec. 10.

“Passengers who purchased their ticket with Aeroplan are asked to contact Aeroplan directly.”

Passengers with air and land packages are asked to contact Air Canada Vacations.

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In yesterday’s July Travel News e-mail newsletter, Ami Allon, Consul for Tourism, Israel Government Tourist Office – Canada, says the first half of 2014 saw a major upswing in Canadian tourism numbers to Israel.

“Despite the current situation, direct flights from Toronto to Tel Aviv are running on schedule, and thousands of tourists from Canada and around the world are arriving, touring and departing from Israel safe and sound. Returning tourists visiting Israel from Canada have expressed that they felt safe in Israel even with the current situation,” he said.

“The safety and wellbeing of visitors is paramount. We continue to monitor the situation very closely and are confident that it will be resolved quickly.

“Israel is well-prepared and committed to handling all scenarios. If we thought for a moment that tourist/visitors coming to Israel right now was not appropriate, we’d have no hesitation in simply suggesting that any trip be postponed taking a wait and see approach until traveler confidence and sense of normalcy returns should the situation call for it.”