Fearing a rocket attack from the Sinai Peninsula, the Civil Aviation Authority has decided to change the landing route for all planes arriving at Eilat Airport.
The new protocols, effective this week, call for planes to turn around over the Red Sea and then head for the airport. Until now, planes would circle around Eilat's mountain range and fly at low altitudes directly over the border with Egypt, something that puts them in the range of rockets and anti-air weaponry possessed by Islamist terrorists in Sinai.
Pilots have been practicing the new route in passenger-less flights over the past week.
Israel's national airline El Al announced on Tuesday that it was cancelling all of its daytime flights to Eilat for all of its non-propellered planes.
"To our regret, we did not receive a suitable response from the CAA to the questions put forth by aviation experts and El Al's chief pilot and we have not received any solutions to this point that have eased our minds regarding the safe operation of the planes according to the customary safety standards," the company said in a statement.
El Al Chairman Eliezer Shkedi said he was deeply concerned with the security aspects of the CAA's new guidelines.
Less than a month ago, terrorists from the Sinai Peninsula fired rockets at Eilat. An Iron Dome battery had been deployed in the region and intercepted the rockets, though the attack left Eilat's skies closed for a few hours.