Singapore Airlines and its low-cost brand Scoot announced today they were diverting flights away from Iranian airspace in light of that nation’s escalating tensions with the United States.
The airline’s announcement came after Iran fired dozens of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops this morning in a retaliatory strike four days after President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian military chief Qasem Soleimani via drone strikes. The attack at the Baghdad International Airport also killed a top Iraqi militia commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
“The new routes do not significantly change flight times for these flights. We are closely monitoring the situation in the region and will take the appropriate precautions if necessary,” the airline told Coconuts Singapore on Wednesday afternoon, noting that flights to and from Europe have been diverted since Monday.
Scoot confirmed the move in a separate statement.
“In view of the latest developments in the region, all Scoot flights in and out of Europe and Saudi Arabia will not be flying over Iranian airspace. Scoot will continue to monitor the situation closely,” it said.
Those diversions have already taken effect. Flight TR734 from Singapore to Berlin, which normally flies over Iran, diverted from its usual course to fly over Saudi Arabia this morning, according to a live map.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, issued flight restrictions earlier today, banning US carriers from flying over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.
“The FAA will continue closely monitoring events in the Middle East,” it wrote in a tweet posted today.
#FAA Statement: #NOTAMs issued outlining flight restrictions that prohibit U.S. civil aviation operators from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. pic.twitter.com/kJEbpPddp3
— The FAA (@FAANews) January 8, 2020
Air traffic over Iraq seemed to continue. Dozens of flights, including those from Turkish Airlines and KLM, traveled over Iraq during that corridor’s peak travel time, according to information from flight traffic monitoring site Flightradar24.
“Traffic through Iraqi airspace has ‘rush hours’—this is one of them. Flights bound for early morning European arrivals are headed north, while flights with late evening European departures head toward the major Gulf hubs,” the tweet read.
Update: This story has been updated with information from Singapore Airlines.
More news from the Little Red Dot at Coconuts.co/Singapore.