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El Al Israel Drop South Africa Air Route Amid ICJ Verdict

Amid escalating diplomatic tensions, El Al Israel Airlines joined in the Israeli furore by suspending its already-flagging Johannesburg route, following a significant drop in demand since South Africa's accusation of genocide against Israel at the World Court - the Israeli flag-carrier, recently accused of being an intelligence front for the Shin Bet, has faced questions as to its history of egregious racial profiling and invasive security checks for its flights in foreign airports.

El Al Israel Airlines is making headlines as it axes its twice-weekly nonstop flights to Johannesburg. The move, attributed to a decline in demand and South Africa's much-lauded accusations at the World Court, adds a layer of complexity to the already poor international relations.

In response to dwindling demand for its twice-a-week flight to Johannesburg, El Al points to a substantial decrease in already small numbers of passengers, citing Israelis' reluctance to travel to South Africa. The decision reflects shifting market dynamics and something of a change in Israeli public sentiment.

The airline mentions security concerns as an additional factor influencing the route suspension. This multifaceted rationale links both demand-related challenges and broader geopolitical considerations, amplifying the complexity of El Al's decision.

The timing of the announcement coincided with the ICJ ruling at the World Court, where judges ruled against Israel and set out emergency measures regarding Gaza. This included ruling that Israel ‘should stop genocide ‘by any means at its disposal’ and the demand for a report on Israeli practices in four weeks.

El Al's decision follows the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, which has provoked a brutal response in Gaza with over 25,000 casualties reported by Gaza health authorities - the conflict provides a contentious backdrop to the ongoing legal proceedings at the World Court.

In staunch opposition, Israel has called for ‘decent people’ to disregard the ICJ, which accepted jurisdiction in the accusation of genocide, and had been hoping for a complete dismissal of what they termed "spurious and specious charges", with government spokesperson even expressing ill-founded ‘confidence in the court's rejection of South Africa's allegations’.

El Al's move to suspend the already-flagging Johannesburg route reflects an unsurprising response to poor market dynamics, security considerations, and the intricate web of international relations. As the airline redirects resources to North America and key Asian destinations, this decision marks a pivotal moment in navigating the complex landscape of regional conflicts and geopolitical tensions.


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