‘Safety first’: Air India reroutes flights overflying Iran to Europe, US amid Middle East crisis

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New Delhi, January 8: The Air India on Wednesday said it has rerouted its flights overflying Iran to Europe and the US in the wake of missile strikes by Tehran at two military bases used by US forces in Iraq.
The airline has decided to reroute flights of Air India (AI) and Air India Express (AIX) overflying Iran.
“Safety of our passengers and crew members comes first. In light of the tensions within the Iranian airspace a decision to temporarily reroute flights of Air India (AI) and Air India Express (AIX) overflying Iran has been taken,” Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said.
Kumar further said that the action may lead to an increase in flying time by approximately 20 minutes for flights from Delhi and 30-40 minutes for flights from Mumbai.
The Government has directed all Indian carriers to avoid airspace of Iran, Iraq and the Gulf following tension in the region.
The regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked all airlines in India to remain vigilant and take precautions in airspace over Iran, Iraq, Gulf of Oman and the waters of Persian Gulf.
Many other commercial airlines have already rerouted flights crossing the Middle East to avoid possible danger amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.
In view of the latest developments in the region, Singapore Airlines informed that all its flights in and out of Europe will not be flying over the Iranian airspace.
Air France has announced suspension of planes through Iran and Iraq airspace.
German airline giant Lufthansa said it would not overfly Iran and Iraq “until further notice”.
“We are no longer overflying Iran and Iraq until further notice,” a Lufthansa spokesman told AFP, adding that Wednesday’s daily Frankfurt-Tehran flight was cancelled, while Saturday’s twice-weekly service to northern Iraqi city Erbil would also not depart.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said that all flights to Iran will be banned starting January 9th.
This comes hours after a Ukrainian airliner Boeing 737 crashed outside Tehran on Wednesday killing over 170 people.
Iran on Wednesday said it launched over a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases used by US forces in Iraq in retaliation to the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite Quds Force head General Qasem Soleimani. (Courtesy: TS)