Lufthansa, Austrian airlines suspend Erbil flights

Lufthansa did not give a reason for the suspension

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Lufthansa and its Austrian Airlines unit have suspended flights to the northern Iraq city of Erbil until March 23, the German carrier said on Monday.

Lufthansa did not give a reason for the suspension but United Arab Emirates airlines including Emirates and Etihad earlier this month suspended flights over security concerns.

Lufthansa previously suspended flights to Erbil last year over security concerns, before restarting them at the end of August.

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants have razed ancient cities in the north of Iraq, and Iraqi security forces are currently trying to retake the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home city.

The risks of flying over and near conflict zones have provoked much debate within the airline industry after the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over an area of fighting in Ukraine last year.

Industry body IATA has called on governments and industry to find better ways of sharing information on security risks posed by conflicts.

Lufthansa usually flies to Erbil twice a week from Frankfurt, while Austrian flies daily from Vienna.

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