Etihad warns of delays after suspending flights through Iranian airspace

Airline says it will use alternative flight paths on a number of routes to and from Abu Dhabi until further notice, causing delays
Etihad Airways, Iran, US

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Etihad Airways has warned some of its flights from Abu Dhabi will be delayed after the airline suspended operations through Iranian airspace over the Straits of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.

Following the decision on Friday of the US Federal Aviation Administration to restrict US airline operations in Iranian-controlled airspace, Etihad Airways said it consulted closely with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and other UAE airlines to evaluate the US action.

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The airline said it will use alternative flight paths on a number of routes to and from Abu Dhabi until further notice.

"These changes will cause delays on some departures from Abu Dhabi, due to increased congestion in available airspace, and will increase journey times on some routes," Etihad said.

The airline said that the safety of its passengers and staff is its highest priority, adding: "We are continually engaging with regulatory authorities and conducting our own risk assessments to ensure that our standards are not compromised.

Etihad Airways said it will provide updates of affected flights on its global website, etihad.com.

Earlier on Saturday, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) called on air operators in the UAE to evaluate flight paths affected by recent airspace restrictions in the region.

In a statement carried by state news agency WAM, the GCAA said that given current regional developments and as a precautionary measure, UAE-registered air operators need to avoid operating in areas "that could jeopardise civil aviation safety and operations".

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Emirates Airline said Friday they have rerouted flights, a day after Iran shot down a US reconnaissance drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

Some of the world's leading carriers, including British Airways, Qantas and Singapore Airlines, suspended flights over the strategic waterway amid escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran.

The suspensions came after the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) "prohibiting US-registered aircraft from operating over the Gulf and Gulf of Oman".

Meanwhile, Dubai's low-cost carrier flydubai said it "adjusted some of the existing flight paths in the region as a precautionary measure".

The NOTAM was in response to "heightened military activities and increased political tensions that might place commercial flights at risk", an FAA statement said, as Tehran and Washington engaged in a war of words over Thursday's missile strike on the drone.

Iran's downing of the drone - which Washington insists was above international waters but Iran says was within its airspace - has seen tensions between the two countries spike further after a series of attacks on tankers blamed by the US on Tehran.

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