El Al, Israel’s national airline, is stopping flights to South Africa at the end of March due to a significant drop in demand, mainly attributed to current security concerns. The decision, affecting the Johannesburg-Tel Aviv route with up to two weekly non-stop flights, reflects the changing landscape influenced by evolving security conditions and altered preferences among Israeli travellers.
Acknowledging the notable decrease in demand, El Al’s spokeswoman highlighted a shift in passenger behaviour, noting that Israelis are currently avoiding flights to South Africa. The decision to suspend the route is a response to the present situation, marked by cancellations and lower plane occupancy rates compared to previous times.
This move coincides with heightened tensions in the region, with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) preparing for a preliminary judgment on South Africa’s case against Israel’s military operations in Gaza. The strained diplomatic relations between South Africa and Israel, along with diminished interest from travellers, contributed to El Al’s choice to halt flights to Johannesburg.
El Al’s decision reflects the complex interplay of geopolitical factors, security considerations, and changing passenger preferences, highlighting the fluid nature of international air travel routes.