Emirates airline, Flydubai cancel services to Baghdad

US Federal Aviation Administration has banned US-registered carriers from flying over Iraq, Iran and the Gulf following rocket attacks on US forces in Iraq

Emirates airline and Flydubai have both cancelled flights to Baghdad on Wednesday.

It comes as Iran fired missiles on Wednesday morning at Iraqi bases housing the US military, in the first act of the Islamic republic’s promised revenge for the US killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad airport last week.

Emirates confirmed that flight EK 943 from Dubai to Baghdad and EK 944 from Baghdad to Dubai had been cancelled for “operational reasons”.

A spokesperson said: “We are carefully monitoring the developments and are in close contact with the relevant government authorities with regards to our flight operations, and will make further operational changes if required. As always, the safety of our passengers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority and will not be compromised.”

While Flydubai also confirmed that flights to Basra and Najaf on Wednesday morning would go ahead as scheduled, a later flight to the Iraqi capital was cancelled.

Banned

The US Federal Aviation Administration said on Tuesday it was banning US-registered carriers from flying over Iraq, Iran and the Gulf following rocket attacks on US forces in Iraq.

“The (FAA) issues Notices to Airmen tonight outlining flight restrictions that prohibit US civil aviation operators from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman,” it said in a statement.

“The FAA will continue closely monitoring events in the Middle East.”

Egypt’s flag carrier suspended flights to Baghdad for three days for security reasons, the civil aviation ministry said Tuesday.   

EgyptAir suspended flights until Friday “for the safety of passengers and planes”, the ministry said, adding they would resume after “the security situation stabilises” in Baghdad.

Bahrain’s Gulf Air halted flights to the Iraqi capital after Soleimani’s killing, while Royal Jordanian has resumed its Amman-Baghdad service after a suspension on Friday.

Air Canada, Singapore Airlines and Srilankan Airlines altered their routes to avoid Iranian airspace. Other carriers in the Middle East continue to fly over Iran and Iraq, based on data from Flightradar24.com.

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