Turkish Airlines has announced the cancellation of two of its 7daily flights it operates between Ben Gurion International Airport and Istanbul.
The company said that the cancellation will take effect August 18 and will be valid until October 25, the Jewish High Holiday period, when most flights are usually fully booked, although it is unclear whether the decision is expected to change.
Turkish Airlines is the biggest foreign carrier operating out of Ben Gurion Airport with many travelers using Istanbul for connection flights elsewhere. Turkish Airlines is also part of the world's largest global airline alliance, Star Alliance. In addition, the international Atatürk Airport in Istanbul is considered the biggest base for connecting flights to North America, Europe and East Asia.
Sources in the airline industry say that the wiping of Turkey off the Israel tourist map and the incitement against Israel by Turkish President Recep Erdogan have taken their toll.
Low-cost Hungarian airline Wizz Air has also announced that it is cutting back Tel Aviv flights. The airline is cancelling its routes from Tel Aviv to Prague, Katowice and Warsaw. These flights are reportedly making operational losses since the start of Operation Protective Edge.
However, Wizz Air will continue flying to Budapest in Hungary, Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca in Romania, Vilnius in Lithuania, and Sofia, Bulgaria as usual though there may be reductions. Wizz Air only began flying to Israel in 2012 and flew 129,888 passengers in and out of Israel in 2013 and 35,843 passengers in June 2014 alone.