Qantas says it will now avoid Iraqi airspace after updated advice from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The FAA issued a new advisory note over the weekend, restricting US airlines from flying at or below 30,000ft “due to the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Iraq”.
The regulator had previously advised airlines not to fly at or below 20,000ft.
Qantas noted that its flights over Iraq were usually at an altitude of between 38,000 and 41,000ft and that the airline had “no new information that alters our safety assessment of flying over Iraq, especially given the altitudes we maintain over this region”.
“However, given the various restrictions imposed by different governments in the past 24 hours, including by the United States’ FAA, Qantas temporarily rerouted its flights within the Middle East to avoid Iraqi airspace,” Qantas said in a statement released on August 2.
“This change will apply until further information becomes available.”
Qantas said the flightpath adjustment was not expected to significantly increase flight times on its services between Dubai and London.
“We will continue to assess this situation and make any further amends we think are prudent,” Qantas said.
The decision to avoid Iraqi airspace comes just days after the Flying Kangaroo said there was no risk to its flights flying over the country.
On July 29, Qantas chief captain Dick Tobiano said there was no information to suggest that there was a risk to commercial aircraft passing over Iraq, “particularly at the altitudes we fly”.
Airlines around the world have been reassessing their flightplans after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Eastern Ukraine earlier in July.
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