Numerous airlines including Air France and Lufthansa announced on Wednesday that they would suspend their flight over Iranian and Iraqi airspace, a few hours after attacks by Iran on two bases sheltering American soldiers in 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 precaution 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 airline, contacted by AFP.
"The flight plans are adjusted in real time according to the decisions of 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 various 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 in turn suspending its flights over Iran and Iraq.
The Polish national company LOT will make use of 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.
These route changes 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 in Baghdad the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last week.
- Cancellations and detours -
In the Middle East, Emirates canceled its flights to Baghdad, imitated by the low-cost airline flydubai, which nevertheless maintained the connections for 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.
Asian companies have also followed suit: Singapore Airlines deviates its flights which must pass over Iran, Malaysia Airlines diverted its flights between London, Jeddah and Medina to also avoid Iranian airspace.
Vietnam Airlines has meanwhile announced that its flights to and from Europe will avoid "areas of potential instability" in the Middle East, although the usual routes of these flights do not pass through Iranian or Iraqi space.
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.
© 2020 AFP