Airlines Worried That Gaza War Will Ruin Pesach Travel

Executives working for foreign airlines in Israel are worried that a major military operation in Gaza could have a negative impact on travel to and from Israel during the lucrative Pesach holiday season next month.

"So far there have been no reservation cancelations, but the market is very anxious and tour organizers abroad are extremely interested in the events in the South," one industry source told Haaretz yesterday.

Some 300,000 Israelis are expected to travel overseas for Pesach, a projected increase of 30 percent over last year. Incoming tourism is promising a similar increase even now.

Foreign airlines have added incoming and outgoing flights, and also special flights, mainly right before and after the holiday.

Local airlines El Al, Arkia and Israir have also beefed up holiday flights to Western Europe, the United States and Far East.

Domestic tourism executives are also concerned about Israelis' local travel plans being disrupted by an escalation in the fighting.

This concern is made even more acute by the need to be extra vigilant this Pesach at popular destinations like Eilat, because of threats from Hezbollah to avenge Imad Mughniyah's death. (Zohar Blumenkrantz)