NEW DELHI: India has “advised” its airlines to avoid overflying the airspace of Iran, Iraq and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) barred its carriers from doing so following Iran’s missile attacks on bases housing American troops in Iraq.
A senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said, “held meetings with concerned airlines to sensitise them for remaining vigilant and taking all precautions, including avoiding” those areas. However, the official added that “no formal instruction (have been issued) as yet.”
The government on Wednesday issued a travel advisory, asking citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Iraq in view of prevailing situation in the Gulf country.
This will mean longer travel time for flights that overfly these regions. While Air India has the maximum flights through the region between India and the west, other carriers like IndiGo and SpiceJet also overfly these areas. Some flights were enroute when the FAA notice to airmen (NOTAM) to avoid Iran, Iraq and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman was issued.
Flight tracking sites show a Mumbai-London commercial flight among the enroute flights that had to divert after the FAA issued the airspace ban “due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to US civil aviation operations.” Tehran targeted bases housing US troops in Iraq with a series of ballistic missiles in the early hours of Wednesday (local time Iraq).