Israel ready to spread its wings and fly (on a limited basis)

New procedures at Ben Gurion Airport will include arriving four hours before your flight in order to undergo a coronavirus test before boarding any plane.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Israel aviation authorities are preparing new procedures for passengers as several countries prepare to reopen their air routes to Ben Gurion International Airport, Channel 12 reported Tuesday.

The preliminary list of countries to which flights will return includes Greece, Cyprus, Montenegro, Georgia, the Seychelles and Austria.

Currently there are still a few scheduled flights to and from the United States on El Al and United, and a handful of scheduled and charter flights to European destinations including Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine, with Ethiopian Airlines and El Al still flying to Addis Ababa.

However, air traffic to Israel has plummeted by more than 95 percent and those few flights are a drop in the bucket compared to the pre-pandemic level of travel.

As countries begin to open up, Ministry of Health and Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority are working with the airlines to determine which destinations will be added and what new rules to set for arriving and departing passengers.

Passengers leaving Israel will have to arrive four hours before their scheduled flight time and follow a designated route into the terminal. Authorities want to run an experiment in which passengers are expected to register before they fly, after which they will be tested for coronavirus.

Any passenger with a fever will not be permitted to enter the terminal and health authorities will notify the airline.

It is expected that the experiment will include only some business travelers and a few other passengers who will be boarding flights in early June.

In a policy change, tourists from foreign destinations who want to visit Israel will be asked to perform preliminary medical examinations before flying, and when they arrive at Ben Gurion Airport they will be exempt from the mandatory 14 days of isolation for those entering the country.

However, they will also have to sign a health declaration that they are aware of the country’s coronavirus guidelines. Passengers not tested before flying will still have to show on arrival they have made arrangements for a two-week isolation period.

Despite stated intentions last month that they would resume some of their flights to Israel, Air Canada and British Airways have not yet done so, while United Airlines remains the only U.S. carrier to have maintained regularly scheduled fights throughout the crisis.