Amid heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, India’s aviation regulator DGCA Saturday said Indian airlines have decided to avoid the “affected part of the Iranian airspace” and reroute their flight “suitably” to ensure the safety of passengers.
“All Indian operators in consultation with DGCA have decided to avoid the affected part of Iranian Airspace to ensure safe travel for the passengers. They will re-route flights suitably,” the DGCA said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Etihad Airways has also suspended operations through the Iranian airspace over the Straits of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman and will use alternative flight paths on a number of routes to and from Abu Dhabi until further notice.
“Following the decision of the US Federal Aviation Administration to restrict US airline operations in Iranian-controlled airspace, Etihad Airways consulted closely with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and other UAE airlines to evaluate the US action,” a statement by the operator said.
Earlier on Friday, the United Airlines suspended its services between New Jersey’s Newark and Mumbai.
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’.