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‘Flight to nowhere’: How a US flight was forced to take mid-air u-turn

Iran-Hamas conflict: While on-boarding their United Airlines flight from the US, hardly any of the passengers had an idea of how their journey on Israel-bound flight will unfold on Saturday. 

As the surprise attack by millitants to Israel wreaked havoc in the country, hundreds of United Airlines passengers booked from San Francisco to Tel Aviv endured a 13-hour “flight to nowhere”.

The flight UA954 departed from the California city on time. However, the flight had to make an emergency u-turn in mid-air after Hamas attack in Israel. THe flight made a 180-degree turn and headed back to San Fransisco, California.

After the return of the airline, United Airlines issued a statement saying that the safety of the customers and crews is its top priority. The airline also said that it is closely monitoring the situation and adjusting flight schedules as required. 

“After our two departures from [Tel Aviv] scheduled for today, future operations at TLV will be suspended until conditions allow them to resume,” read United Airlines Statement, reported Hindustan Times

Flight from San Fransisco was not the only flight that returned mid-air because of the attack. Ryanair flights from Continental Europe began its journey to Tel Aviv but turned around in mid-air on Saturday. The flight started from Budapest and was over Antalya in southern Turkey when it was ordered to return to the base.

So far, several airlines including American Airlines, Air France, Lufthansa, Emirates and Ryanair, have cancelled their flights to Israel. However, one of the the airports of Israel continues to function.

Amid the war between Israel and Hamas, country’s civil aviation authority announced that no sports or leisure flights would be allowed into Israeli airspcae until further notice. 

For Saturday, one flight to Frankfurt was maintained, but all other flights to Tel Aviv stood cancelled due to the attack, Lufthansa told news agency AFP.

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Updated: 08 Oct 2023, 11:25 PM IST

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