USA Airlines banned from the Persian Gulf, Iran & Iraq – Australians will fly there
The USA Federal Aviation Administration has issued international Security NOTAMs* covering Iran, Iraq and the Persian Gulf. These effectively ban American airlines from flying over their airspace.
These notices are as a result of the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani by a US drone, the resulting Iranian missile attacks on Iraqi bases where American troops are stationed and the crash of a Ukranian Airlines 737-800 outside of Tehran, the US Federal Aviation Administration has banned US carriers from flying over much of the Middle East, including, Iran, Iraq, the Gulf of Oman and parts of the Persian Gulf.
Qantas and Virgin
The notices do not directly affect Australian airlines, although Qantas is considering re-routing flights including its Perth to London direct flights.
However, both Virgin and Qantas have partnerships with Middle East airlines that do fly over these airways. These partnerships will not be affected by the American ban. Qantas will continue its partnership and codeshare deal with Dubai based Emirates, and Virgin will maintain its agreement with Etihad.
Both Etihad and Emirates run multiple services between Australian cities and their home hubs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Neither airline is contemplating any changes to flights or routes, although they are both monitoring the situation and are assuring customers that the safety of their crew and passengers is their highest priority. Incidentally, Emirates has cancelled its Baghdad/Dubai service on Wednesday for ‘operational reasons’.
Unlike the USA, Australia’s regulatory body the Civil Aviation Safety Authority does not issue similar NOTAMs but leaves such decisions to individual airlines.
It will be interesting to see if Trump demands that Australia joins in with the kind of economic sanctions he is claiming to impose and if this will include Australian airlines partnerships with Middle East based airlines.
*A Notice to Airmen is a notice filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight