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Home / World / Tensions between Iran and the US: The Middle East has become a nightmare for airlines

Tensions between Iran and the US: The Middle East has become a nightmare for airlines



The US agency stated in an opinion that it was concerned about "increased military activity and increasing political tensions" in the region after Iran used a ground-to-air missile to lower the drone while moving in near operated civilian air routes.

The airlines took swift action. United ( UAL ) Airlines have suspended their air traffic between India and Newark until September 1, while airlines like Qantas QABSY ) British Airways, KLM and Lufthansa [194559003] ( DLAKF ) stated that they would comply with the restrictions on what track changes for some flights meaning major hubs in Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi as well as for planes crossing the area on routes to and from Asia.

The situation is particularly complicated for Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, which have a large number of long-haul flights Emirates announced on Friday that all flights would be diverted from "conflict zones" and, if necessary, further changes would be made.

Rising Costs and Risks

Flight restrictions mean that commercial airlines and freight companies spend a lot of time and money. And nowhere is the disruption more obvious than in the Middle East.

Airlines have avoided flying over Syria in recent years and kept away from airspace controlled by military aircraft. But they have also shunned parts of Iran and Iraq in various places. A civil war has put Yemen out of action since 201
5, and a missile fired by Houthi rebels hit the arrivals hall of an airport in Saudi Arabia this month. The airlines also avoid northern Sinai, where Egypt fights militant Islamists.

"The Middle East has never been so complex for aircraft operators," said Mark Zee, founder of OpsGroup, an organization that oversees airspace for member airlines and air traffic controllers. "In the last six years it became even more complex Regardless of which direction you turn, a route was interrupted."

Nevertheless, a large number of flights from European airports such as London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt need the Middle East on their way to Asian destinations like Bangkok and Singapore.

"It's a huge amount of traffic," Zee said. "And there is not much alternative."

  Airlines cancel flights near Iran after the drone was shot down.

The extra miles flown to avoid hot spots mean higher costs for airlines, who spend $ 180 billion a year on jet fuel. An additional half-hour in the air, which is repeated in the course of a year, means additional costs in the millions. This does not mean the extra time that passengers now have to plan for their trips.

Zee referred to the example of flights between Amsterdam and New Delhi to illustrate the impact. Flights between the two cities would usually fly over Pakistan, but many have bypassed the country because of armed skirmishes with India. However, Iran is also along the route, so possibly a second detour is required.

The Lesson of MH17

The crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 caused airlines and regulators to take a second look at the safety of flying over conflict areas. In this case, 298 people were killed when the plane was shot down by a rocket when it flew over part of eastern Ukraine, held by pro-Russian separatists.

Some airlines had already determined that flying over the area posed a risk, and avoided it when MH17 was shot down. Due to the low level of information exchange between airlines, regulators and governments, some airlines continued to send flights through eastern Ukraine.

The industry is now applying some of the lessons of this disaster.

In a statement to airlines on Thursday, the FAA said the nearest civilian aircraft was within 45 miles of the US drone when it was targeted. The missile system used by the Iranians was probably able to reach up to 60,000 feet, which is about twice the cruising altitude of many commercial jets, the agency added.

  Trump says the US is tense and loaded. attacking Iran before retreating

"The FAA remains concerned about the escalation of tensions and military activity near high-volume civilian air routes," she warned Agency. "There is concern about the possibility of misidentification or misinterpretation, which could lead to inadvertent targeting of civil aviation."

There is a precedent for such miscalculation. In 1998, a missile fired from an American warship hit Iran's Air Flight 655 and killed 290 people.

Zee said the swift action by regulators and airlines this week could prevent another disaster.

"Within 24 hours, much of the major airlines have stopped flying over this region," he said. "If there's good news, it's how fast airlines make risk-based decisions to avoid the airspace." , "


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