An Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv has had to return to the capital after unplanned industrial action affected flights at Ben Gurion International Airport.
Protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned judicial overhaul have caused disruption, and the strike is expected to affect tens of thousands of people as Israel’s Airports Authority announced the suspension of flights.
“As a result of an unplanned industrial action affecting all aircraft movements at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Etihad flight EY593 from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv on March 27 has returned to Abu Dhabi,” an Etihad Airways representative told The National.
“Consequently, Etihad Airways flight EY593 from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv and EY594 from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi on March 27 will be cancelled.”
Ben Gurion airport, Israel's largest airport, at first grounded all flights, but this decision was later reversed.
“The safety and well-being of our guests and crew is always Etihad's highest priority,” the Etihad Airways representative said.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and plan to provide additional capacity to and from Tel Aviv on March 28.”
The airline also expressed regret for any inconvenience caused by the circumstances beyond their control and said staff were assisting passengers.
Emirates airline also cancelled its flights to and from Tel Aviv on Monday.
"Due to nationwide strikes and a halt in operations at Ben Gurion airport, Emirates flights EK 931 and EK 932 on 27 March have been cancelled. We regret the inconvenience caused to our customers," an Emirates spokesman said.
Affected Emirates customers who booked with travel agents should contact them for alternative arrangements, while customers who booked directly with Emirates can contact their local office for rebooking options.
Flydubai flights to Tel Aviv are unavailable until March 31, according to the airline's website.