Air India, AI Express reroutes flights usually taking Iranian airspace after strikes against US military bases in Iraq

Hours after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 people crashed near Tehran and Iranian government conducted missile strikes against US military bases in Iraq, Air India said it is temporarily rerouting its flights and that of its subsidiary Air India Express which use Iranian airspace.

"In light of the tensions within the Iranian airspace a decision to temporarily reroute flights of Air India (AI) and Air India Express (AIX) overflying Iran has been taken. This may lead to increase in flying time by approximately 20 minutes for flights from Delhi and 30 to 40 minutes for flights from Mumbai," said the airline's spokesperson.

Aviation regulator DGCA on Wednesday morning asked Indian airlines to remain vigilant and take all precautions in airspace over Iran, Iraq, Gulf of Oman and waters of Persian Gulf, hours after the crash of Ukrainian International airlines flight that killed 176 people near Tehran.

Also Read: Watch: When Iran missiles hit US army bases in Iraq

Earlier, India on Wednesday issued an advisory for Indian nationals asking them to avoid travelling to Iraq for now.

The advisory came soon after Iran claimed to have attacked two US military bases in Iraq, in retaliation to the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qasem Soleimani in an American drone attack on January 3.

Fearing further escalation, the Ministry of External Affairs in a statement said: "In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification."

Indian nationals living in Iraq have also been advised to be alert and avoid travel within the country.

"Our Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq," the notification said.

Also Read: Iran says 80 'American terrorists' killed in missile strikes on US army bases in Iraq