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Foreign airlines begin to resume Tel Aviv flights after Gaza truce

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·1-min read
Israel bans flights to stop coronavirus spread
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By Jonathan Saul

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Foreign airlines on Friday made preparations to resume services to Tel Aviv hours after Israel and Hamas reached a truce after the worst violence in years.

While Israeli carrier El Al Israel Airlines kept flying, many international airlines including British Airways suspended flights to and from Israel's main Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv. Others were diverted to Ramon Airport near Eilat, several hours drive away.

Delta Airlines said it had suspended flights to Tel Aviv on May 12.

"Delta plans to resume service from New York-JFK to Tel Aviv tonight," a spokesperson said on Friday.

"We continue to closely monitor the security situation and will make adjustments to our flight schedules as necessary."

German airline Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and SWISS aim to resume flights to Tel Aviv on Sunday, Lufthansa said.

Lufthansa had said on May 13 that it was suspending all flights to Tel Aviv due to the hostilities.

Virgin Atlantic said separately on Friday it expected to resume flights from Britain to Israel on Monday, but also said it would keep the route under constant review.

Tourism is a significant source of revenue for Israel and the neighbouring Palestinian Authority although Israel controls entry into Palestinian areas and the occupied West Bank.

Israel's bombardment of Gaza and militant rocket attacks on Israeli towns ceased after 11 days under an agreement mediated by Egypt.

During the last major hostilities between Israel and Hamas, a 2014 war that lasted seven weeks, Israel's central bank estimated the country's economy took a 3.5 billion shekel hit, plus nearly the same amount in damage to the tourism sector.

(Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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