Amid heightened tensions in the Gulf of Oman, the United Airlines has decided to suspend its services between New Jersey’s Newark and Mumbai from Friday evening.
The United Airlines, in a statement, said that it had taken the decision after conducting a thorough safety and security review of its India service through the Iranian airspace.
It is not clear for how long the suspension would last.
Following this, according to a report in Reuters, the US Federal Aviation Administration also issued an emergency order prohibiting US operators from flying in an overwater area of Tehran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.
“All flight operations in the over-water area of the Tehran Flight Information Region above the Persian Gulf and Gulf Of Oman only are prohibited until further notice due to heightened military activities and increased political tension in the region,” the FAA said in a statement, according to a report in IANS.
On Thursday, two other carriers, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, said they did not fly over Iran. Japanese carriers Japan Airlines Co Ltd and ANA Holdings Inc also said they did not fly over the area.
The warning order from the US Federal Aviation Administration came after Iran shot down an American high-altitude surveillance drone that was said to be flying near civil air routes above the Gulf of Oman.
Iran has said the drone was shot-down when it entered its airspace to carry out surveillance tasks.
But the Pentagon said that the drone was carrying out reconnaissance over international waters in the vicinity of civil air routes above the Gulf of Oman.
The shooting down of Global Hawk aircraft further escalated already deteriorating tensions between the US and Iran.
It was the latest in a series of incidents in the Gulf region after the relationship between the two countries deteriorated following US President Donald Trump withdrawing from the nuclear agreement with Iran and European member countries.
Earlier this month, two oil tankers were hit in the Gulf of Oman, which the US has accused to be carried out by Iran.
According to reports, the tankers were struck in the same area where the US accused Iran of using naval mines to sabotage four other oil ships in an attack last month.
However, Iran has dismissed all allegations in the attack on the two oil tankers, calling them ‘baseless’.
In the wake of rising tensions in the region, the Indian Navy has launched “Operation Sankalp” in the region to reassure Indian flagged vessels transiting through the area.
The Navy has deployed stealth guided missile destroyers INS Chennai and patrol vessel INS Sunayna in the region for maritime security operations. Besides, aerial surveillance by naval aircraft was also being undertaken.
The Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region, set up in Gurgaon by the Indian Navy in December 2018, is also keeping a close watch on the movement of ships in the Gulf region, according to a report in IANS.
(With agency inputs)