Singapore: Commercial airlines are swerving Iraqi and Iranian airspace today after heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington raised concerns that passenger planes could be shot out of the sky by mistake.
Airlines are rerouting flights throughout the region to avoid potential danger during heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.
Jumbled schedules could affect as many as 15,000 passengers per day, lengthen flight times by an average of 30 to 90 minutes, and severely bruise the bottom line for airlines, industry analysts said.
Aviation buffs shared images of the BA134 jet, bound for London from Mumbai, approaching Iraqi airspace from the south. All of a sudden, the plane redirects and circles back round before jetting across the Gulf, reports The Daily Mail.
Meanwhile, The flag carriers of Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan said on Wednesday that they would divert flights over Irans airspace due to the escalating Tehran-Washington tensions in the region. The carriers' announcement came on the same day Tehran attacked the Ain-al-Asad military base in Iraq housing US troops and a Washington-operated airbase in Erbil in retaliation for the January 3 drone attack that killed Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad.
"In view of the latest developments in the region, all (Singapore Airlines) flights in and out of Europe will not be flying over the Iranian airspace. We will continue to monitor the situation closely," the Singaporean carrier said in a Wednesday statement to Efe news.
It was confirmed that the airline's low-cost subsidiary Scoot would also avoid Iran.
Malaysia Airlines released a statement announcing its intentions to avoid Iran's airspace. "Malaysia Airlines does not fly over the airspace of Iraq on its flights to/from London, Jeddah and Medina. Due to recent events involving Iran, Malaysia Airlines will be avoiding the conflict airspace of Iran," the airline said. "Safety is of utmost importance to Malaysia Airlines."
The airline is among the more cautious carriers following high-profile incidents that marred its operations last decade, including a March 2014 flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur which was struck by a missile while cruising over eastern Ukraine during the ongoing War in Donbass.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's national carrier, China Airlines, said it would avoid both Iraqi and Iranian airspace.
"In light of the events in the region, all China Airlines flights bound to Europe will not overfly neither the Iranian nor Iraqi airspace. We will continue to attentively monitor the situation and will adjust the flights in consequence," a spokesperson for the carrier said in a statement.
Developments came shortly after the US Federal Aviation Authority banned US airlines from flying over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia, following days of escalating tensions in the Middle East.
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