FAA prohibits US airlines from flying over Iran airspace

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 21, 2019
United has stopped flights between New York and Mumbai. (Rob Finlayson)
United has stopped flights between New York and Mumbai. (Rob Finlayson)

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned US airlines from flying over parts of Iran following the shooting down of a US Navy drone.

The FAA’s Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) published on Thursday (US time) said flights were not permitted in the overwater area of the Tehran Flight Information Region, which covered the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, until further notice.

This was due to “heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the region that presented an “inadvertent risk to US civil aviation operations and potential for miscalculation or mis-identification.

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“The risk to US civil aviation is demonstrated by the Iranian surface-to-air missile shoot down of a US unmanned aircraft system on June 19 2019 while it was operating in the vicinity of civil air routes above the Gulf of Oman,” the NOTAM said.

On Thursday (US time), the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) said Iran had shot down a US Navy Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Block 10 Global Hawk unmanned maritime ISR air vehicle that was flying in international airspace off the Iranian coast.

“This was an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace,” CENTCOM said.

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The incident comes amid rising tensions between Iran, the US, and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the region following the withdrawal of the US from an international nuclear weapons limitation agreement with Iran in 2018, Iran’s support of Houthi rebels in the Yemeni civil war, and the attack of two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman late last week which the US has attributed to Iran.

A file image of a US Navy RQ-4A Block 10 BAMS-D Global Hawk. (US Navy)
A file image of a US Navy RQ-4A Block 10 BAMS-D Global Hawk. (US Navy)

Earlier, before the FAA had issued its NOTAM, United said it was suspending its nonstop flights between New York Newark and Mumbai in response to recent events.

“Given current events in Iran, we have conducted a thorough safety and security review of our India service through Iranian airspace and decided to suspend our service betweenEWR and BOM (Mumbai) beginning Thursday evening,” United said in a statement.

“We continue to explore all our options and remain in close contact with relevant government authorities in order to provide our customers with the most efficient travel experience under these circumstances.”


Some information about the Tehran Flight Information Region from Flightradar24’s Twitter page.

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