Indian Airlines and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) decided o June 22 not to fly in Iranian airspace. DGCA asked the airlines to avoid flying in the over-affected water area of Tehran (Iran) airspace with the Strait of Hormuz that connects the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Although they can use the airspace over land.
The announcement came after Iran shot down a US military drone on Thursday for allegedly violating Iranian airspace. This action dramatically escalated the geopolitical tension between the US and Iran. Keeping this in mind, DGCA wants to ensure safe travel for passengers.
This restriction will add a more flying time of flights from India to the US and Europe and will make tickets more expensive. Air India will be the most impacted with the decision as it is the only Indian airline now with international service after Jet Airways’ suspension. One of the IndiGo’ flights to Istanbul will also be affected.
“Carriers like Air India and IndiGo returning back from places like Saudi Arabia, Europe and the US, will have to take a slightly longer route. However, this impact is limited and alternate routes are being decided,” Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.com, said.
The US Federal Aviation Administration has prohibited American airlines from flying over-water area of the Iranian airspace and has suspended flights from New Jersey’s Newark-Mumbai till September 1 following a safety review, CNBC reported. US mega airline United has already suspended its India flights due to the closure of airspaces of Iran and Pakistan.
Asia-Europe flights are already facing the disruption since February when Pakistan restricted its airspace due to India’s air strike in Balakot, Pakistan.
Many of the airlines, including from India, may avoid the Iranian airspace over land too.