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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 March 2019

No route changes for Etihad and Emirates despite fears over Russia’s Syrian airstrikes

Etihad Airways and Emirates have decided not to follow Cathay Pacific’s lead and will continue to fly over Iranian airspace, despite concerns over Russian air strikes on Syrian targets.
Etihad and Emirates have decided not to follow Cathay Pacific’s lead and will continue to fly over Iranian airspace, despite concerns over Russian air strikes on Syrian targets. Courtesy Etihad Airways
Etihad and Emirates have decided not to follow Cathay Pacific’s lead and will continue to fly over Iranian airspace, despite concerns over Russian air strikes on Syrian targets. Courtesy Etihad Airways

DUBAI // Air France and the Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific have stopped flying over Iran and the Caspian Sea after Europe’s aviation safety agency issued a warning about Russian missiles being fired at Syria.

Russia is intensifying its air campaign against insurgents in Syria and last week launched a salvo of cruise missiles from its warships in the Caspian. The missiles cross Iran and Iraq, but at much lower altitudes than commercial passenger aircraft.

Some airlines, including Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines, altered their flight paths to avoid the area for a day after the missile strikes, but have since resumed normal operations.

Others, such as the Australian airline Qantas, said they would continue to fly over Iran on the Dubai to London route.

“If it does turn into being a problem, Qantas will not be flying aircraft through that airspace, but the information we have is that it is safe to do so,” a spokesman said.

Emirates said it was monitoring the situation.

Airlines have taken the dangers of war more seriously since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine on July 17 last year, killing all 298 people on board.

Dutch investigators concluded in a report released on Tuesday that the Boeing 777 was brought down by a Russian-made BUK missile fired from rebel-held territory.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

Updated: October 14, 2015 04:00 AM

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