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            september 22, 2019

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US bans flights over parts of Iran's airspace after downing of drone


THE US Federal Aviation Administration has banned US airlines from flying in an overwater area of Tehran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman.
United Airlines has already halted flights between New Jersey's Newark airport and Mumbai airport since they fly over Iranian airspace, reported Mumbai's The STAT Times.
A United spokesman said customers flying from Mumbai to Newark would be booked on alternative flights back to the United States. "We continue to explore all our options and remain in close contact with relevant government authorities in order to provide our customers with the most efficient travel experience under these circumstances," the spokesman said.
The move by the FAA follows the shooting down of an unmanned US surveillance drone by Iran. The countries' officials are currently disputing the circumstances of the incident. While Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said it shot down the drone over Iranian airspace, the US has called it an "unprovoked attack."
US president Donald Trump called the downing "a big mistake." According to reports, Mr Trump approved military strikes against Iran, before abruptly reversing his decision after intense discussions with top national security officials at the White House.
A number of other airlines have re-routed their flights in view of the US ban.
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) announced in a statement that UAE-registered air operators need to avoid operating in areas that could jeopardise civil aviation safety and operations.
Fly Dubai and Emirates airline said they had "adjusted some of their flight paths as a precautionary measure." Etihad Airways said it "will provide updates on affected flights on its global website, etihad.com, as information is provided by regulatory authorities about the airspace restriction".
British Airways, Qantas, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Air-France KLM's Dutch subsidiary KLM all said they would avoid parts of Iranian airspace following the regional developments.
The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) sent out a tweet saying Indian operators would avoid the affected Iranian airspace.

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