Lufthansa instructs plane en route to Tehran to turn back on security concerns

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Lufthansa instructed a plane en route to Tehran to turn back to Frankfurt on security concerns, a statement from the airliner seen by Al Arabiya English confirmed on Friday.

“Lufthansa can confirm that on 09.01.2020 flight LH 600 on its way from Frankfurt to Teheran returned to Frankfurt after about one hour flight time as a precautionary measure. The background is a changed assessment of the security situation for the airspace around Tehran airport,” said the statement.

The airline also cancelled all flights to and from Tehran between Friday and January 20, citing security concerns.

“Due to the unclear security situation for the airspace around Tehran airport, Lufthansa Group airlines are cancelling flights from/to Tehran up to and including 20 January as a precautionary measure,” said Lufthansa in a subsequent statement.

“Together with national and international authorities, Lufthansa Group Security continues to evaluate the security situation for arrivals and departures for Tehran airport and the entire Iranian airspace. As soon as we have detailed information, we will decide whether and when our Iranian flights can be operated again. We regret the inconvenience for our passengers,” the airliner added.

The news builds into concerns that Iranian airspace is unsafe for commercial airlines following the downing of Ukrainian International Airline outside Tehran. Western leaders have suggested the plane was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile.

“If the evidence proves that the plane was hit by mistake, a lot of airlines will question whether they should be flying to Imam Khomeini International Airport and they will classify it as unsafe,” said Mustafa Alani, Director of Security and Defense Department at the Gulf Research Center.

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