Qantas and other airlines which fly over the Middle East have been warned by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) that Russian warships firing long-range missiles into Syria could compromise flight paths in the area.
“EASA was informed from public sources of several launches of missiles from warships, located in the Caspian Sea, to Syria on 06 and 07 October 2015,” the report says.
“Before reaching Syria, such missiles are necessarily crossing the airspace above Caspian Sea, Iran and Iraq, below flight routes which are used by commercial transport aeroplanes.”
While the EASA provided no specific recommendations to airlines flying in the areas, it said the report was to “inform airspace users about the hazard” and that it would provide more specific information on the situation when it is received.
Qantas flights between Dubai and London fly twice daily over Iran — a flight path that has already been diverted from flying over Iraq and Syria.
The airline re-routed its flight path temporarily in August, 2014 in reaction to fresh warnings from regulators about the conflict-ridden airspace.
But news of the potential risk has spiked concern, coming on the same day that the Dutch Safety Board released its final report into the fate of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
It was found that flight MH17 was hit by a Buk surface-to-air missile over the eastern part of Ukraine. It was flying at 33,000 feet. Read more about that here.
Qantas flies well above the minimum altitude of 30,000 feet for commercial flights over Iraq, operating at an altitude of between 38,000 feet and 41,000 feet.
The airline has not released any information in response to the EASA warning.
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