Pearson Airport passengers boarding the first Air Canada flight to Tel Aviv after a two-day suspension of air travel there and others travelling to less-dangerous destinations expressed concern Thursday about Mideast violence and recent airline tragedies but said they plan to carry on with their trips.
“The fighting (in the Middle East) is a problem for me,” said Yossi Delouya, president of the Be’er Sheva Chamber of Commerce in Israel, who came to Canada with three friends for a three-week vacation.
“I want to know what exactly can I do,” Mr. Delouya added before boarding the flight back to Israel. “It’s terrible now.”
Air Canada and other international airlines cancelled all flights to Tel Aviv earlier this week after Hamas militants shot a rocket that landed less than two kilometres from the main airport there.
Nawal Masad and her husband had waited three days before the airline got the couple a connecting flight to Tel Aviv by way of Zurich on Thursday.
“I am worried, but I hope everything will be good,” she said.
Daniel Richter, a Toronto resident, was taking his children on a family vacation and said he trusted that Air Canada had made the right decision.
“The airline’s doing what they’re supposed to do, as far as I’m concerned,” he said “They’re following the FAA regulations.”
The suspension of flights to Tel Aviv came after the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority warned airlines of danger after the Hamas rocket attack. The FAA lifted that warning earlier Thursday.
Other travellers headed to different destinations expressed sympathy for the victims of recent airline tragedies in Ukraine, Africa and Taiwan but spoke of the need to carry on with their trips.
With some hesitation, 50-year-old music teacher Patricia Reimer said her confidence in air travel depends on where her trip takes her.
“I’m just flying to Tampa,” she said, referring to an annual trip she makes to visit her mother.
She feels safe traveling to Florida, but the Ukraine and African tragedies have changed her outlook on international travel.
“I wouldn’t even fly to Europe right now. Not unless I had to.”
Lapis Shi, a 23-year-old student, said that on balance the advantages of air travel outweigh the risks.
“There are car accidents every day,” she said after seeing her parents return home on a flight to China. “I still think airplanes are the most safe way to travel.”
Veronica Cruz from Houston said the recent tragedies are worrisome but argued that air travel is a fact of life and said she’ll carry on.
“It makes me concerned. I do worry about it,” the 48-year-old retailer said.
“I pray, I trust God, that he’ll help us on this trip.”