An El Al Israel Airlines Boeing 737-800 landing at Frankfurt Rhein-Main international Airport. El Al Israel Airlines started flying in 1948 from Geneva to Tel Aviv. Its main place for taking off and landing is Ben Gurion Airport. It is known as one of the safest airlines in the world as it has systems to protect its planes from missiles. (Photo by Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Fabrizio Gandolfo | Lightrocket | Getty Images
El Al Israel Airlines said on Friday it was suspending its route to Johannesburg at the end of March, citing a steep drop in demand after South Africa accused Israel of genocide at the World Court.
Israel’s flag carrier flies up to twice weekly nonstop to Johannesburg.
“Israelis don’t want to fly to South Africa,” said an El Al spokesperson. “They are cancelling flights and planes are pretty empty… We understand it’s the situation because it was different before.
“The fact that the Israelis don’t want to go to South Africa but do want to go to other places helps us decide that we’re pausing that route,” she said. The company also cited the current security situation.
U.N. judges will rule on Friday on South Africa’s request for emergency measures against Israel, including that it halt its military operations in Gaza, over which it faces allegations of state-led genocide at the World Court.
After the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Islamist group Hamas that killed 1,200 Israelis and abducted more than 240 others, Israel responded heavily in Hamas-ruled Gaza. More than 25,000 people have been killed, according to Gaza health authorities.
Israel has asked the court to reject the case outright. An Israeli government spokesperson on Thursday said they expected the U.N.’s top court to “throw out these spurious and specious charges.”
South Africa argued two weeks ago that Israel’s aerial and ground offensive was aimed at bringing about “the destruction of the population” of Gaza.
El Al said once it had stopped flying to Johannesburg it would shift the widebody aircraft it uses on the route to expand current destinations to North America and Bangkok and Tokyo in Asia while examining new routes.
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