Several airlines redirect flights away from Iran airspace amid soaring Mideast tensions

AFP , Saturday 13 Apr 2024

Australian airline Qantas said on Saturday it would redirect its long-haul flights between Perth and London to avoid Iran's airspace aligning with other airlines' decisions on Friday, amid concerns over potential Iranian reprisals on Israel following an Israeli strike on Iran's consulate in Syria.

File photo: Iranian fighter jets fly over Tehran during a military parade marking the country s annual army day on April 18, 2022. AFP


A Qantas spokesperson told AFP the airline would temporarily adjust the flight paths due to "the situation in parts of the Middle East".

"We'll reach out to customers directly if there's any change to their booking," the spokesperson said.

The Perth-London flight, which is usually a non-stop 17-and-a-half hour journey, will now stop in Singapore to refuel, allowing it to carry a full load of passengers on an alternate route.

The return service -- London to Perth -- will continue to fly non-stop on a readjusted path due to prevailing winds.

All other flights are not affected.

Qantas joins other airlines including Lufthansa and its subsidiary Austrian Airlines in redirecting flights to avoid Iranian airspace.

The German airline said Friday its planes would no longer use Iranian airspace as it extended a suspension on flights to and from Tehran.

"Due to the current situation, Lufthansa is suspending its flights to and from Tehran up to and including Thursday, 18 April," a company spokesperson said Friday.

"The airline is also no longer using Iranian airspace."

Its subsidiary Austrian Airlines followed suit.

The flights to the Iranian capital have been suspended since April 6.

Lufthansa did not outline the immediate reasons for the suspension.

In a statement, Austrian Airlines cited "the current situation in the Middle East".

"For Austrian Airlines, the safety of its passengers and crews has top priority. The situation in the Middle East is being evaluated on an ongoing basis. To this end, Austrian is in close contact with the authorities".

The move comes after Iran vowed to retaliate after Israel killed two top Iranian commanders and six other Iranian military officers in Syria last week.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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