Major airlines to bypass the Persian Gulf amid escalating tensions with Iran
The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order early Friday prohibiting US airlines from flying through the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, citing an “inadvertent risk” to civilian airplanes after Iran shot down a US surveillance drone.
The order came hours after United Airlines suspended one of the longest routes it operates, a roughly 15-hour direct flight between Mumbai, India, and Newark, New Jersey, which typically passes through Iranian airspace.
German airline Lufthansa says it is no longer flying planes over the Strait of Hormuz or the Gulf of Oman. For the meantime, the airline, Germany’s largest, says its flights to Tehran will continue.
Abu Dhabi-based long-haul carrier Etihad says it has “contingency plans”. “Etihad Airways is carefully monitoring the current situation. Contingency plans are in place, and we will decide what further action is required after carefully evaluating the FAA directive to US carriers.”
Dutch carrier KLM says its planes will not fly over Strait of Hormuz. KLM says the move is a “precautionary measure.”
Australian airline Qantas says it will reroute flights away from the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. Qantas said Friday it would affect its flights between Australia and London.
President Donald Trump reportedly gave initial approval for the military to launch strikes on Iranian radar and missile batteries in retaliation for Tehran shooting down the US drone, before pulling back at the last minute.
It was not clear if strikes would go ahead at a later date. The White House and Pentagon have not commented on the reports.