Skift Take

Iran may have reopened its airspace following Israel's retaliatory attack, but will carriers risk flying over the two countries?

Airlines flying over Iranian airspace promptly rerouted to different airports or returned to their original departure locations early Friday morning following Israel’s retaliatory attack on Iran.

Flights in and out of Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz airports in western Iran were also briefly suspended after the country closed a portion of its airspace following the attack.

However, according to a Reuters report, by 4:45 GMT Iran had lifted the restrictions around its airports and airspace. Closure notices posted on a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration database had also been taken down, the report said.

Restrictions imposed on the operation of a number of Iranian airports on Friday morning have been lifted, Iran’s official news agency IRNA quoted the spokesman of the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization as saying.

Flydubai in an earlier statement had said it has cancelled its flights to Iran and turned back flight FZ 1929 due to the closure of the airport. However, following the reopening of the airspace, the Dubai-based low-cost carrier was one of the few carriers that resumed flying over Iranian airspace.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and will make changes to our flight paths in consultation with the relevant authorities,” Flydubai said in another statement.

A flydubai aircraft seen flying over Iran at 9:54am Iran time. Source: Flightradar24.

Qatar Airways, Turkish Airways, and Belavia, are some of the other carriers that are currently flying over Iranian airspace, as shown in flight tracking website Flightradar24.

Iran’s Note to Aviation Authorities

Isfahan International Airport, a public and military airfield, had reportedly been the target during the attack. The strike comes after Tehran launched dozens of drones and missiles on Israel Saturday night.

Immediately after the attack, airport officials instructed passengers to exit Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport.

A notice to airmen (NOTAM) issued by the Tehran Flight Information Region (FIR) outlined temporary flight routes for aircraft heading east and west.

Tehran FIR also sent out a NOTAM advising pilots to take additional fuel onboard their flights due to potential route extensions.

Flight Diversions

Two flights bound for Tehran — a Turkish Airways and an Emirates flight — made a U-turn from Iranian airspace, based on flight paths shown on Flightradar24.

An Iran Air flight from Rome to Tehran that was being diverted to Ankara was the most tracked flight at Flightradar24.

There were also reports that an American Airlines flying from Delhi to New York was being diverted to Boston.

Britain’s low-cost carrier easyJet on Tuesday suspended all flights to Israel for the next six months, citing the “situation in Israel.”

The Indian civil aviation ministry had also advised airlines to assess risks before flying on international routes following the Iran-Israel crisis. 

Airlines Suspend Flights to Israel

Following Israel’s attack on Iran, several airlines said they would suspend flights to Tel Aviv. KLM said it would suspend flights to Tel Aviv until April 22.

“Safety of passengers and crew has the highest priority for KLM. That is why KLM is closely monitoring the safety situation in Israel,” KLM said in a statement. “We use a safety management system to determine whether a flight to a particular destination can be operated safely. We are also in direct contact with the Dutch and other authorities.”

Air France said it would continue to fly to Tel Aviv but was “monitoring the situation closely.”

Austrian Airlines said it was taking a “precautionary measure” and suspending flights to Amman, Erbil and Tel Aviv “to comprehensively reassess the security situation.” Austrian stopped flying to Iran shortly before Iran launched an attack on Israel April 13. Lufthansa also previously scrapped flights to Tehran after it became public that Iran was planning an attack on Israel.

Lufthansa said it would suspend Tehran and Beirut flights until and including April 30. The German flag carrier added it would not use Iranian airspace. A Lufthansa spokesperson said the carrier wouldn’t fly to Israel and Erbil on April 19 and would avoid Iraqi airspace that same day. However, the airline will resume Tel Aviv and Erbil service April 20 at 7 a.m. CEST, and will then use Iraqi airspace.

SWISS is canceling Tel Aviv flight until and including April 25.

United Airlines said it would cancel its Newark to Tel Aviv service through May 2 and would continue to decide on flying to Amman. Delta Air Lines is still slated to resume flights to Tel Aviv June 7, and a spokesperson said the carrier was continuing to assess the situation.

Additional reporting by Meghna Maharishi


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Tags: american airlines, emirates, flydubai, iran, israel-hamas war, qatar airways, turkish airlines

Photo credit: Flydubai was one of the few carriers that resumed flying over Iranian airspace.

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