Amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, following the shooting down of an American drone over the Strait of Hormuz, the Indian aviation regulatory body on Saturday said its airlines would avoid the “affected part of the Iranian airspace” and re-route their flights.
“All Indian operators in consultation with DGCA have decided to avoid the affected part of Iranian Airspace to ensure safe travel for the passengers. They will re-route flights suitably,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on Twitter.
However, Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani said the order won’t have any substantial effct on Air India flights. “No substantial effect on Air India flights, details being worked out for rerouting of incoming planes,” PTI quoted Lohani as saying.
The DGCA order comes a day after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency directive, restricting US-registered aircraft from operating over the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the overwater area of the Tehran airspace.
Following the US aviation regulator’s order, United Airlines temporarily suspended its Newark-Mumbai service and even cancelled the return leg of the flight from Mumbai on Friday. United is currently the only US-based airline to fly to India. Flag-carrier Air India operates direct flights from various Indian stations to US cities of New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington DC.
Apart from US carriers, several other airlines have also avoided flying over the tensed region as a precautionary measure. According to live flight tracking portal Flightradar24, Malaysian Airlines’ Kuala Lumpur-London flight, which till Thursday flew over the Strait of Hormuz, on Friday took a detour avoiding the region. Similarly, a Singapore Airlines flight to London also took a different route to avoid flying over the region.
In addition to this, carriers like KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas and British Airways have also said that their flights would be rerouted to prevent flying over the tensed region.
Moreover, the Indian Navy has deployed its warships in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to reassure Indian vessels operating and transiting in the region.
In a statement, the Navy said that it has also begun aerial surveillance in the area. “INS Chennai and INS Sunayna have been deployed in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to undertake maritime security operations,” it said.
Before Washington claimed that Iran shot down a US drone on Thursday, the US military had accused Iran of firing a missile at another drone last week that was responding to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The US blamed Iran for the attacks on the oil tankers, a charge denied by Tehran.