India's National carrier, Air India has announced on Wednesday that Air India and Air India Express flights will not be flying over Iranian airspace because of the ongoing political tensions in the region.
Dhananjay Kumar, the spokesperson of the airline announced on Wednesday afternoon that in order to ensure the safety of the passengers and crew members, AI and AI Express flights will be rerouted and will not fly over Iran. He also stated that the rerouting will lead to an increase in the flying time of 20 minutes departing from New Delhi and 30-40 minutes for flights departing from Mumbai.
Dhananjay kumar, Spokesperson Air India: This may lead to increase in flying time by approximately 20 minutes for flights from Delhi and 30 to 40 minutes for flights from Mumbai. The situation is being closely monitored. https://t.co/npjzFXsyQE— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2020
The precautionary move comes after Iran fired a series of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq that house American troops. A state-run news channel later claimed that the strikes killed “at least 80 terrorist U.S soldiers” and also damaged helicopters, drones, and other equipment at the Ain al-Asad airbase.
A Kiev-bound Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 plane also crashed after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board. The Ukrainian government has not stated any reason for the crash yet, with the embassy in Iran releasing a statement that read, "Information on the causes of the plane crash is being clarified by the commission. Any statements regarding the causes of the accident prior to the decision of said commission are not official."
Earlier on Wednesday, India's External Affairs Ministry advised the citizens to "avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification" and asked the citizens who are alreadly staying there to be alert while traveling internally.
India's aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also asked airlines to avoid Iran airspace.
A number of international airlines, such as Air France, Emirates, Qantas, Malaysian Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, EVA Air, etc have decided to reroute their flights and avoid the airspace.