Updated April 15th, 2024 at 16:48 IST

Hostilities Between Iran and Israel Lead to Biggest Disruption of Air Travel Since 9/11

Air travel experts have speculated that the current disruptions to the industry are likely to last for a few more days.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Air India is one of the carriers that has suspended flights passing over the region amid rising hostilities between Iran and Israel. | Image:Air India
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At a time when the industry is already reeling from the impact of the Gaza conflict and the war in Ukraine, the potential for a significant round of hostilities between regional powers Iran and Israel has led to even more disruptions for airlines plying routes between Europe and Asia, Reuters reported. Iran, over the weekend, fired over 300 missiles and drones at Israel. While a majority of the deadly munitions were intercepted and the the impact of the attack appears to be minimal, it did cause significant disturbances in the aviation industry. 

Over the last two days, several airlines, including Qantas, Lufthansa and Air India, have announced a cancellation of rerouting of flights crossing over the region. Mark Zee, founder of OPSGROUP. a global organisation that monitors airports and airspaces, told Reuters that this was the single largest disruption to air travel since the September 11, 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Centre. Zee also noted that these disruptions are likely to continue for the next few days. 

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Zee said that the airspace above Iran is used by airlines travelling between Europe and Asia and that carriers looking to redirect will have two viable alternatives — through Turkey or via Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Israel has now reopened its airspace after closing it on Saturday. Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon have similarly resumed flights in their own territory. 

In addition to this, major West Asian airlines such as Qatar Airways have resumed operations in the region after initially cancelling or rerouting flights. 

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What remains to be seen is how this latest bout of unrest will affect passenger demand worldwide which has, as yet, remained strong despite several global conflicts. Brendan Sobie, an aviation analyst, told Reuters that people may become concerned about travelling if the ongoing conflicts continue to escalate.  
 

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Published April 15th, 2024 at 16:48 IST