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Many airlines suspend flights over Iran and Iraq

Many airlines, including Air France and Lufthansa, announced on Wednesday precautionary measures concerning their flights to the Middle East, and in particular the suspension of their flight over Iranian and Iraqi airspace.

These decisions come after Iran sent missiles against the bases of Ain al-Assad and Erbil in Iraq, used by the American army, in reprisal for the American strike which had killed the Iranian general in Baghdad. Qassem Soleimani last week.

Here is a list of the various measures taken by the companies which have modified their flight plans.

No overview of Iran and Iraq

The federal agency of the American aviation (FAA) had prohibited on Tuesday evening to the American civil planes the overflight of Iraq, Iran and the Gulf, in the wake of the attacks.

“As a precautionary measure and upon the announcement of air strikes in progress, Air France has decided to suspend until further notice any overflight of Iranian and Iraqi airspace,” said a spokesman for the company, contacted by the AFP.

“The flight plans are adjusted in real time according to the decisions of the French and regional authorities, all over the world, in order to ensure the highest level of flight safety,” he added.

The Dutch company KLM, which is part of the same group, applied the same precautionary principle. “All flights to different destinations in Southeast Asia and the Middle East will be on alternative routes,” a KLM spokesperson told AFP.

In Germany, Lufthansa first canceled its daily flight to Tehran before stopping its flights over Iran and Iraq. A decision followed to the letter by its Swiss and Austrian subsidiaries.

The Polish national company LOT will take new routes avoiding Iran for its flights to India, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand in particular, without the schedules or the duration of the flights being affected.

Asian companies have also followed suit: Singapore Airlines diverted its flights which must pass over Iran, Malaysia Airlines diverted its flights between London, Jeddah and Medina to also avoid Iranian airspace.

Wide detours and delays

Some companies have seen wider, like Vietnam Airlines which announced that its flights to and from Europe would avoid “potential areas of instability” in the Middle East. Their usual routes do not pass through Iranian or Iraqi space.

Air Canada has simply announced that it has changed its flight plans “to ensure the safety of its flights within and over the Middle East”.

For the Australian Qantas, the flight between Perth and London will fly over Asia rather than the Middle East and will be delayed by around forty minutes.

Air India flights from Bombay are expected to experience the same delays, while those departing from New Delhi are expected to take around 20 minutes longer, according to the airline, which also decided to avoid Iran.

Canceled flights

In the Middle East, Emirates canceled its flights to Baghdad, imitated by the low-cost airline flydubai, which, however, maintained the connections to Basra and Najaf, in southern Iraq.

Many airlines in the region had already suspended flights to Iraq for several days after the assassination of General Soleimani, such as Bahrain Airways or Kuwait Airways.

EgyptAir has suspended flights to Baghdad for three days since Tuesday.

burx-pid / soe / cj

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