FAA Restricts Flights Over Iraq, Iran Following Missile Strikes

by Chris Dong

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.

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.

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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