International airlines reroute flights after Iran downs US drone

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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency order on Thursday prohibiting US air carriers from flying in Iran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman due to heightened tensions.

Some international airlines are taking precautions following the FAA order.

Here are some statements from non-US Airlines:

Air France-KLM’s Dutch subsidiary KLM is avoiding flying over parts of Iran as a precautionary measure, a spokesman said on Friday, confirming a report by the Netherlands’ state broadcaster NOS. The spokesman could not provide further details.

The NOS report said that the company decided to reroute flights following a decision last night by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to stop American operators from flying over Tehran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.

Australia’s flag carrier, Qantas Airways Ltd, said on Friday that its flights over the Middle East would avoid the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman following the downing of a US surveillance drone in the region.

The restriction will mean a slight change to the route for flights between Australia and London, the airline said in a statement.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has issued an emergency order prohibiting US operators from flying in Iran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman due to heightened tensions.

German airline Lufthansa says it is no longer flying planes over the Strait of Hormuz or the Gulf of Oman after the shooting down by Iran of an American reconnaissance drone.

The carrier says that the flights were suspended over the two bodies of water on Thursday and that the zone was expanded on Friday to include surrounding areas of land.

For the meantime, the airline, Germany’s largest, says its flights to Tehran will continue. Lufthansa says the decision was based upon its own assessment of the situation.

British Airways said on Friday it will adhere to guidance from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to avoid parts of Iranian airspace and its flights will continue to operate using alternative routes.

Thursday’s emergency order from the FAA came after Iran took down a high-altitude US drone with a surface-to-air missile, sparking concerns about the safety threat to commercial airlines.

“Our safety and security team are constantly liaising with authorities around the world as part of their comprehensive risk assessment into every route we operate,” a spokeswoman for IAG-owned British Airways said.

French flag-carrier Air France said it did not fly over the Strait of Hormuz and that it was in constant contact with the French and European civil aviation authorities to analyze any potential risks.

A Norwegian Air spokesman said the carrier had no departures planned to fly over Iran on Friday “but we are monitoring the situation closely and will reroute if necessary.”

A spokesman for the airline said it was following the situation closely although it did not fly in that territory.

Singapore Airlines will take slightly longer routes to avoid the affected Strait of Hormuz area due to the ongoing tension, a spokesman said on Friday.

Emirates Airline says it has taken precautionary measures including rerouting all flights away from areas of possible conflict in the Middle East.

Etihad Airways said on Friday that contingency plans were in place, and that it would decide what further action was required after carefully evaluating the FAA directive to the US carriers.

The low-cost airline FlyDubai says it has “adjusted” some of its flight paths

FlyDubai told The Associated Press in a statement on Friday that it “adjusted some of the existing flight paths in the region as a precautionary measure.” It said it continues to monitor the situation.

Malaysia Airlines says it has avoided the airspace over the Strait of Hormuz on its flights to and from London, Jeddah and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

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