FAA bans U.S. carriers from flying over Persian Gulf

Jan 8, 2020

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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that all U.S. airlines and pilots were barred from flying over Iraq, Iran and the Persian Gulf amid increasing tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

The agency said it was concerned about the “potential for miscalculation or misidentification,” according to the AP.

“The Federal Aviation Administration issued Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) tonight outlining flight restrictions that prohibit U.S. civil aviation operators from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman”, the FAA said in a statement.

The news follows a tense few days in the Middle East. On Tuesday, Iranian ballistic missile strikes hit two Iraqi bases home to U.S. troops. It’s unclear if there were fatalities, but President Trump tweeted late last night that he would make a statement on the attack.

Trump last week ordered the assassination of Iranian General Qassim Suleimani, who was killed at the Baghdad International Airport (BGW). Iran has promised retaliation, and some analysts have warned Americans to be especially cautious while traveling overseas. In fact, the U.S. State Department is urging Americans to leave Iraq immediately.

On 5 January, Iraq ordered all foreign troops to leave the country, calling the attack on Suleimani “a political assassination”, and further escalating tensions in the region.

If you have a flight coming up and are concerned about the conflict, several international carriers worldwide said they would avoid the region. Malaysia Airlines told Reuters that its pilots would avoid the Persian Gulf, citing the “conflict airspace of Iran.” Australian-based Qantas also said that it would avoid the airspace over Iraq and Iran for now, Air France said it would suspend flights over the region.

The State Department told The Points Guy over the weekend that it has not issued a new worldwide caution for travelers.

“We encourage all travelers to read the travel advisories for each of their destinations and the country-specific information on Travel.State.gov,” a State Department spokesperson told TPG over the weekend.

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images

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