The head of American Airlines Group Inc’s pilots union said members shouldn’t fly to Israel until it is clear the situation is safe, after war was declared in the region over the weekend.
“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,” Allied Pilots Association President Ed Sicher said in a statement. “I am directing all pilots to cease flight operations to Israel until we can be reasonably assured of the region’s safety and security.”
Sicher cited a US State Department travel advisory issued Sunday that said the situation in Israel is unpredictable and “mortar and rocket fire may take place without warning.” He also said the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notam, or notice to air missions, telling operators to exercise extreme caution.
“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,” Sicher said. “Inform them that you are refusing the assignment in accordance with the guidance and cautions issued by the State Department and the FAA.”
Several airlines said they would suspend services to Israel, including Air India Ltd and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, after attacks erupted around the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, killing more than 700 Israelis. About 400 Palestinians have died in fighting and retaliatory attacks.