- Qantas is among the airlines avoiding the airspace over Iran and Iraq.
- The airline said in a statement it is altering the flights over the Middle East “until further notice” to avoid the airspace.
- It comes following intelligence reports indicating a Ukrainian passenger plane was shot down outside Tehran.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
Qantas is avoiding the airspace over Iran and Iraq, following reports a Ukrainian plane was shot down by Iran on Wednesday.
US officials believe Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was struck by a missile operated by the Iranian military. The plane crashed outside of Iran’s capital Tehran on Wednesday killing all 176 people on board.
On Wednesday Qantas said in a statement it is altering the flight paths over the Middle East “to avoid the airspace over Iraq and Iran until further notice.”
The airline said Flight QF9 from Perth to London, and QF10 from London to Perth are the only flights affected by the change.
The altered route will mean flight times on QF9 will increase by roughly 40-50 minutes. As a result, Qantas said it will need to reduce the number of passengers on board so it can carry more fuel.
“We’re looking at temporarily routing QF9 through Asia until we’re able to return to our normal flight path through the Middle East,” a Qantas spokesperson told Business Insider Australia in an email. “This would mean a fuel stop in a city like Singapore or Hong Kong but it would enable us to still carry a full load of passengers on these heavily-booked flights, and minimise disruption that way.
“We’ll reach out to passengers directly if there’s any change to their booking.”
Qantas’ QF10 flights however, will allow a full amount of passengers to board.
No other Qantas flights to and from London are affected.
“Qantas’s other flights to and from London (QF1/2) are unaffected as they operate through an alternative flight path,” Qantas said in the statement.
Qantas isn’t the only airline diverting from the airspace. The US Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) preventing US aircraft from using the airspace over Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
#FAA Statement: #NOTAMs issued outlining flight restrictions that prohibit U.S. civil aviation operators from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. pic.twitter.com/kJEbpPddp3
— The FAA (@FAANews) January 8, 2020
According to CNN, Lufthansa, Air France and Malaysia Airlines said they are also bypassing the airspace over Iran and Iraq.
Singapore Airlines said all its flights to and from Europe haven’t been flying over the Iranian airspace since January 6 2020. “The new routes do not significantly change flight times for these flights,” the airline said in a statement.
“Regarding flights operating over Iraqi airspace, Singapore Airlines has not operated flights over this area since 2012. We are closely monitoring the situation in the region and will take the appropriate precautions if necessary.”
The airspace over the region is a key transit route for flights in and out of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). UAE based airlines such as Etihad and Emirates often fly over the Persian Gulf to transport passengers between Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.
Read more: Intelligence provided to Canada and Australia indicates that an Iranian missile took down the Ukrainian flight with 63 Canadians on board
Read more: Rockets were fired near two US bases in Iraq amid mounting tensions between the US and Iran
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