International airlines steer clear from Iranian airspace over Gulf
British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa and other European carriers are avoiding Iranian airspace by rerouting their flights, after an American drone was downed by Tehran.
The UK’s flagship airline, British Airways, announced that it will adhere to the guidance issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). “Our safety and security team are constantly liaising with authorities around the world as part of their comprehensive risk assessment into every route we operate,” the carrier’s spokeswoman said, adding that its flights will continue operating via alternative routes.
Dutch carrier KLM also confirmed media reports that its planes will be avoiding parts of the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman in the wake of the FAA ban.
Germany’s Lufthansa said that its decision to reroute aircraft in the Gulf was based on its own assessment. The company specified that its scheduled flights to Tehran will continue.
Australia’s Qantas Airways, UAE’s Emirates, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines were also among the carriers to avoid Iranian airspace.
Early on Thursday, Iran shot down a high-altitude US Navy drone over the neutral waters.
US FAA had also banned all US civilian aircraft from parts of the Gulf. The increasing tensions between the US and Iran have made flying in the area unsafe, the FAA said, as it introduced the ban. There were “numerous civil aviation aircraft operating in the area at the time of the intercept,” the agency pointed out, with the nearest plane flying just 45 nautical miles (51 miles) away from the downed drone’s location.