CAPTION: Maintenance crew from a RAAF KC-30A conduct checks on the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, before an assisted-departure flight to Dubai. Photos by Corporal Robert Whitmore.
UPDATE: As of October 19, ADF aircraft have assisted 295 Australians and their families, and other approved foreign nationals, to depart from Tel Aviv to Dubai.
Two RAAF aircraft – a KC-30A and a C-17A Globemaster III – have joined a Government-supported private charter in safely airlifting people from Ben Gurion Airport in Israel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The deployment of RAAF aircraft as part of Operation Beech follows the start of Australian Government assisted-departure flights from Tel Aviv on October 13.
On October 15, a total of 88 Australians and other country nationals travelled to Dubai via the two Defence aircraft. On October 16, a total of 148 Australians and other country nationals (including a number of nationals from Pacific Island countries) travelled to Dubai, from Israel, via a Defence aircraft.
To date, the total number of Australians and other country nationals transported by Defence aircraft is 236.
CAPTION: Maintenance crew from a RAAF KC-30A on the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, prior to an assisted-departure flight from Tel Aviv Israel to Dubai. *This image has been digitally altered for security purposes.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the safety of Australians impacted by this conflict was paramount for the Australian Government.
“The activation of two Defence aircraft provides critical options for Australia as the conflict in Israel continues to evolve,” he said.
“Australian nationals and visa holders who wish to leave Israel should ensure they are registered with DFAT [Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] via their crisis portal.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Penny Wong said more than 1200 Australians previously registered have now left Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including more than 400 Australians and their families on four Australian Government-assisted flights.
“We continue to consider options to assist Australians who want to leave Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” Senator Wong said.
“We encourage Australians who want to leave to take the first option available, do not wait for a different option.”
The Government is considering whether further assisted-departure flights are required in the light of a challenging and rapidly changing situation.
Australians in the affected areas who want to leave or need assistance with departure should register via DFAT’s Crisis Portal or by calling the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 (from overseas) or 1300 555 135 (from within Australia).
DFAT will continue to provide updates to registered Australians.
CAPTION: RAAF pilots guide a C-17A Globemaster III into Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, to pick up a load of departing Australian citizens.