Prolonged airspace ban over Iran, Iraq could cost airlines dearly

After US regulator banned country’s airlines from flying over Iran and Iraq, other carriers are also taking precautions.

By Tom Benner

Published by Al Jazeera English, Jan. 10, 2020

Singapore – Did a missile, or even missiles, bring down Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 in a Tehran suburb earlier this week, killing all 176 people on board, a few hours after Iranian forces launched attacks against military bases hosting United States forces in Iraq?

Western officials seem to be raising the possibility that a missile strike – whether intentional or not – did cause the tragedy. Iran has dismissed the comments by Canada and Ukraine suggesting a missile attack may have been responsible.

But if it was the cause, it would seem to vindicate the decision this week by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ban US carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran and the Gulf of Oman, as well as the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The European Aviation Safety Agency also recommended that EU-based commercial airlines avoid Iraqi airspace, prompting many carriers to reroute or cancel operations through the region.

But those decisions, while prudent, could add to the commercial and operational problems of many Asian and European airlines whose planes have to pass over the Middle East while travelling between Asia and Europe, aviation analysts say.
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