Middle East Tension: Lufthansa, Other Airlines Avoid Iraqi, Iran Airspace

Following the tension between the United States of America and Iran, airlines are beginning to avoid flying in Iraqi and Iranian airspaces. The US airstrike earlier this month rebooted the tension in the Middle East with both countries talking tough. Earlier, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had banned US carriers from operating in the region. Just as there was the tragic loss of a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 on Wednesday, which killed 176 passengers and crew on board the flight.

This development was accompanied by a warning from the Federal Aviation Administration, banning US aircraft and crew from flying in the Iran and Iraq areas, with a few exceptions. Although not all the airlines have been banned from the area, many are choosing to avoid it. This includes major European carriers such as Air France and British Airways. Aircraft have been opting to fly around the affected area, however, in some instances, flights have diverted as fuel for such a detour has not been sufficient. Qantas for instance, will need to add a stop to the world’s third-longest flight due to the necessary detour.

Two flights that had been diverted were British Airways’ Boeing 777 and Boeing 747 services to Dubai, BA105 and BA109. These flights made a U-turn to divert to Istanbul just prior to entering Iraqi airspace. Meanwhile, British Airways flight 157 to Kuwait took a major detour around the affected airspace. Additionally, BA134 from Mumbai to London made a dramatic U-turn, just skimming Iraqi airspace. It then diverted around the area, landing in Athens for additional fuel.

As is the case with these types of flight restrictions, certain flight operations in the area have been suspended. One such carrier suspending services is German flag carrier Lufthansa. The airline had suspended its daily service to Tehran until further notice.

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