With increasing tensions in the Middle East and a missile strike on two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. forces, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced airspace restrictions on U.S. carriers, effective immediately. The ban includes airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of both the Persian Gulf as well as the Gulf of Oman.
#FAA Statement: #NOTAMs issued 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. pic.twitter.com/kJEbpPddp3
— The FAA (@FAANews) January 8, 2020
This is a significant portion of airspace that may impact flights in the days and weeks to come. While non-U.S. carriers are not obliged to follow these restrictions, many still do as a safety precaution.
There were a few flights already in the air and in the vicinity of the airspace restrictions when this directive was announced. A British Airways flight (BA109) seems to actually have diverted to Istanbul while enroute from London to Dubai. Its routing to Dubai would have put it directly over Iranian or Iraqi airspace.
Other flights, like BA157 to Kuwait (as you can see in the tweet below), made an extra long routing to avoid any potential danger.
Updates on the commercial aviation situation in Iraq and Iran — track live flights in the area, read relevant NOTAMs, and see diversions and rerouted flights.https://t.co/RaH0ibnYJa pic.twitter.com/0XwRtIQshy
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 8, 2020
Before this latest guidance, the FAA had already prohibited U.S. carriers from flying below 26,000 feet over Iraq and from flying over a part of Iranian airspace since Iran shot down a high-altitude U.S. drone in June 2019. This situation is ongoing and developing…
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