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BA crew slam airline after being forced to fly to war-torn Tel Aviv

BRITISH Airways crew hit out at being forced to fly to war-torn Tel Aviv despite easyJet cancelling all flights from the UK to Israel for six months due to rising tensions in the Middle East.

Lufthansa, KLM, Air France, United Airlines and Wizz Air were among 10 carriers who stopped services after Iran blitzed Israel.


British Airways crew fear for their lives as they are forced to continue flying to IsraelCredit: Alamy

But BA flyers were told if they did work on the flights they would face disciplinary processes. Staff have begged bosses to set up a ‘volunteer list’ so only crew willing to fly to Tel Aviv had to.

The row came as budget airline easyJet said it would not reopen routes to Tel Aviv until October 27 – with any customers who already have tickets offered the choice of a refund.

The Luton-based company had previously suspended flights until April 21, but has now extended the ban to cover the entire summer season.

Meanwhile in an extraordinary outpouring on BA’s internal chat-room – seen by The Sun – a Captain blasted the fact that “duty of care to the cabin crew team has been absent”.

He added: “I currently have limited confidence in the way that BA has dealt with this potentially life-threatening situation, and I look forward to being reassured prior to operating to Tel Aviv.”

One steward pointed out government advice not to travel to the region and said: “Can BA please provide actual rationale behind the decision to continue flights to a war torn country, where the situation is only deteriorating.

“To help make our colleagues feel safe and valued we would appreciate actually being told why you have come to the decision to keep flying to Tel Aviv.

“Especially when other European carriers have now ceased operations. Crew feel like BA are putting money before safety and many colleagues do not feel safe flying to Tel Aviv.”

Another anxious colleague who asked for union advice said: “Crew do not want to operate but have no choice not to. Another airline has sent their crew home and cancelled the flights and they know it’s not safe to operate, why haven’t we?”

A stewardess who said she was not prepared to operate on the route hit out: “Here we are, bombs flying into Israel, and I’m literally speechless. We still have our pilots and crews in that area.”

British Airways flight forced to divert after air steward collapses in mid-air medical emergency

One colleague told her: “Remember when you swipe for work you must be physically and mentally fit to operate.”

Another worker said: “We should be fully aware and allowed to make our own informed choice as to whether we operate these flights – to anywhere in the region – and should we decline, we should be allowed to do so without fear of repercussions.”

A stewards said: “BA really needs to pull their fingers out the cash till and put crew and passenger safety first.” BA bosses acknowledged to staff the “level of confusion around our decisions compared to others”.

Airline passengers are facing cancellations or disruption to flights to Israel and surrounding countries after Iran’s airstrikes last weekend.

Experts claimed this made it the biggest single disruption to air travel since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001.

Israel closed its airspace on Saturday evening after Iran launched its first-ever direct assault on the country.

Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel in retaliation for a strike on Tehran’s consulate in Damascus on 1 April, which killed a number of senior Iranian commanders.

Israel has not said it carried out the consulate strike, but is widely believed to have been behind it.

Lufthansa said that flights to Beirut and Tehran would remain suspended until at least 18 April. Airlines have also rerouted flights to dodge Iran airspace.

BA told The Sun last night: “We keep the Tel Aviv situation under constant review. We would never operate any flight unless it was safe to do so.”

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