Air France suspends air travel to Iran, Iraq

Thursday, 09 Jan, 2020

Following the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)'s emergency restriction of us flights over Iran, Taiwan airlines, including EVA Air and China Airlines, also chose to avoid Iran's airspace because of safety concerns.

The FAA notice comes hours after Iran took responsibility for firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles into Iraq that targeted USA and coalition forces.

Iranian state TV said it was in revenge for the U.S. killing of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani.

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, assured passengers travelling with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) that it does not fly over Iraq's airspace to destinations like London, Jeddah and Medina.

Singapore Airlines announced it was diverting flights from Iranian airspace to Europe, Bloomberg reported.

They have been banned from flying in an area of Iranian airspace above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman since Iran shot down a high-altitude USA drone last June.

The Federal Aviation Administration has banned US aircraft from Iraq and Iran airspace following a retaliatory attack by Iran.

"We are carefully monitoring the developments and are in close contact with the relevant government authorities with regards to our flight operations, and will make further operational changes if required", Emirates said in a statement.

Vietnam Airlines told the Nikkei Asian Review on Wednesday that the state-owned carrier will keep flights far from the conflict zone, although it has no routes passing through the airspace of Iran or Iraq.

Some airlines, including Qantas, have rerouted flights to avoid Iranian airspace, amid US-Iranian tensions.

Airlines and the United Nations' aviation agency have started to monitor strategic airspace over Iran and Iraq.

Iran's pre-eminent military commander Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport.

Qassem Soleimani attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran in 2016.

The potential for misidentification is a concern for passenger airlines.

Nevertheless, operators of commercial aircraft in the Middle East face hard choices.