Saudi Airlines divert flights to avoid Iranian administrated airspace

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian airlines on Sunday announced its decision to reroute its international flights away from the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz to avoid Iranian administrated airspace in the wake of Tehran’s move to shoot down a US military drone earlier this week.

According to the airlines, the decision was taken to ensure flight safety, reported Anadolu news agency.

Several other major airlines including Lufthansa, KLM and Qantas have already diverted the routes following Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) recent decision to ban US-owned airlines from flying over Iran-controlled airspace.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Thursday announced that it had shot down an “intruding American spy drone”, RQ-4 Global Hawk, after it violated Iranian airspace over the southern coastal province of Hormozgan. Washington has labelled the move an “unprovoked attack”, claiming that the drone was flying over international waters when attacked.

To back its claim, the country released an image of the flight path, showing that the drone was flying over the international waters, in response to which Tehran released a video showing that the drone had entered the Iranian airspace. Both the countries provided similar proof until the final moments before the unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down.