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Business News/ News / World/  Israel-Iran tensions: Air India, Vistara Lufthansa scrap flights, reroute planes as wider Middle East war looms
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Israel-Iran tensions: Air India, Vistara Lufthansa scrap flights, reroute planes as wider Middle East war looms

Major airlines cancel Iran flights, limit airspace use due to rising tensions. Air India, Qantas avoid Iranian airspace; Lufthansa halts Tehran flights.

The move comes after Iran blamed arch-foe Israel for a strike in Syria this month that killed two Iranian generals, and threatened reprisals. (AFP)Premium
The move comes after Iran blamed arch-foe Israel for a strike in Syria this month that killed two Iranian generals, and threatened reprisals. (AFP)

Several leading airlines have cancelled flights to Iran and restricted its use of Israeli and Iranian airspace amid rapidly escalating tensions. Air India and Qantas planes have now begun avoiding Iranian airspace while Lufthansa extended a suspension on flights to and from Tehran.

Flight tracking data indicates that a London-bound Air India flight took a significantly longer route on Saturday in order to avoid Iranian airspace. According to an NDTV report quoting sources, the carrier may now take take up to 45 minutes longer to arrive at destinations in Europe. However the rising tensions will not affect flights to the Middle East as they are south of Iranian airspace. Air India had restarted flights to Tel Aviv in early March after a nearly five month hiatus amid the Gaza war.

“Due to the current situation affecting parts of the Middle East, we are making changes to the flight paths of some of our flights. Contingency routes, which are kept available to ensure operational continuity during such eventualities, are being used instead. This may result in longer flight times on certain routes and associated delays. The situation is being monitored closely and further changes will be made if required," said a Vistara spokesperson.

Meanwhile German airline Lufthansa extended its ongoing suspension on flights to and from Tehran — in place since April 6. The company also said that flights to and from Amman will be operated as “day flights" so crews can return to Frankfurt without spending a night in the Jordanian capital.

The carrier and its subsidiary Austrian Airlines have said that their planes will no longer use Iranian airspace. The latter cited “the current situation in the Middle East" in an official statement. Iran is primarily connected via Turkish and Middle Eastern airlines with Lufthansa and its subsidiary as the only Western carriers currently serving Tehran.

“Due to the current situation, Lufthansa is suspending its flights to and from Tehran up to and including Thursday, 18 April. The airline is also no longer using Iranian airspace," a company spokesperson said on Friday.

Israel-Iran Tensions — Follow LIVE updates

Qantas Airways has also temporarily re-routed its services in order to avoid airspace in the Middle East. The QF9 flight from Perth to London will now fly via Singapore for a fuel stop for the next few days as the company monitors the situation. A Qantas spokesperson confirmed that the QF10 return flight (as well as other paths out of London) remain unaffected.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will no longer fly over Israel and Iran. Press agency ANP cited a spokesperson from the Dutch Arm of Air France-KLM to add that the carrier would continue flying to Tel Aviv (on Israel's Mediterranean coast). 

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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Published: 13 Apr 2024, 06:02 PM IST
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