Amid US-Iran tensions, Etihad Airways supends operations through Tehran airspace

Abu Dhabi [UAE]: Two-day after the US restricted its airline operations in Iranian-controlled airspace, Etihad Airways on Saturday suspended operations through Iranian airspace over the Straits of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman amid escalating Tehran and Washington tensions.

The airline will now use alternative flight paths on a number of routes to and from Abu Dhabi until further notice, said Etihad Airways in a statement.

The US Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday issued an emergency order prohibiting its operators from flying in an overwater area of Tehran-controlled airspace.

“The safety of our passengers and staff is the highest priority for Etihad Airways, and we are continually engaging with regulatory authorities and conducting our own risk assessments to ensure that our standards are not compromised,” the statement added.

The already strained relationship was further aggravated after Iran shot down a US military drone on Thursday.

While Iran says that the “intruding American spy drone” was shot down as it was in Iranian airspace, Washington has labelled the incident as an “unprovoked attack” as the drone was flying over international waters.

The latest evacuation comes after the US recalled hundreds of non-emergency diplomatic staff from its embassy in Baghdad last month.

The US contractors in Balad assist the Iraqi military in maintaining its
F-16 fleet along with providing security, training, and other basic operations.