Some major airlines said they re-routed flights on Wednesday in order to avoid space over Irak and Iran, following a U.S. missile attack on Iraq by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA said it issued the airspace ban, which also includes the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia, “due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations.”Air Canada, Singapore Airlines and Srilankan Airlines altered their routes to avoid Iranian airspace
A number of non-U.S. groups, According to FlightRadar24 data, the airlines were flying over parts of Iraq and Iran at the time. They are not subject to the FAA ban directly, but foreign carriers and their domestic regulators typically take US counsel carefully into account when deciding where to fly.
Transport Canada said it was in close contact with the FAA about the situation in the Middle East and that Air Canada was altering its routes.
India’s aviation regulator has not issued formal instructions to airlines yet but has held meetings with those concerned and advised them to remain vigilant and take precautions, an official said.
Singapore Airlines Ltd said after the attacks that all of its flights would be diverted from Iranian airspace.
Malaysia Airlines said it did not fly over Iraqi airspace and would re-route to avoid Iran as a result of the attack. Taiwan’s China Airlines said it would not fly over Iran or Iraq because of the regional tensions.
Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd said it was adjusting flight paths to avoid airspace over Iraq and Iran until further notice, adding up to 50 minutes to Perth-London flights and requiring it to reduce passenger numbers to carry the necessary fuel.
Dubai-based Emirates Airline cancelled a return flight to Baghdad on Wednesday after Iran’s missile attack and said it would make further operational changes if required.
Korean Air Lines Co Ltd and Thai Airways said they had been avoiding Iranian and Iraqi airspace before the attack on U.S. troops.
OPSGROUP, which advises airlines on security threats, said the new U.S. airspace bans were “significant”, particularly given that the entire overwater airspace in the region is now unavailable.
An international aviation team has been activated to support “effective coordination and communication” between airlines and countries as tensions mount in the Middle East after a U.S. drone strike killed an Iranian military commander, global airlines body IATA said on Tuesday.