Airlines avoid Baghdad after FAA NOTAM

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The US government’s Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) posted a notice to airman (NOTAM) on 8 August restricting US operators from flying in the airspace above Iraq because of the ongoing conflict and non-US airlines have also announced they are avoiding the country.

The FAA NOTAM states that, “due to the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict between militants associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Iraqi security forces and their allies, all flight operations in the Baghdad flight information region…are prohibited until further advised.” The NOTAM will be reevaluated by 31 December this year.

Etihad Airways announced on the same day as the FAA NOTAM  that it would re-route its flights to avoid some of the airspaceover Iraq. In its announement Etihad says: “The decision follows the deterioration of the security situation in parts of the country. On Thursday 7 August Etihad Airways announced that it had suspended all flights to Erbil, Iraq with immediate effect until further notice…the airline will continue to monitor the security situation closely.” However, Etihad flights to Basra and Baghdad are to continue. The airline will undertake a daily risk assessment for routes to these cities, but otherwise Etihad says the airline will, “continue to operate as normal”.

Oman Air has also announced that it has re-routed its flights to and from its home base of Muscat to avoid flying over Iraqi territory. Oman Air says: “The move comes as a result of Oman Air’s continuous review of its flight paths.” The airline adds that it is going to take a long term view of the, “possible need for changes in the way we operate”. It cited, “geopolitical developments,” as a reason why the airline may make operational changes before they could become a, “statutory requirement”.

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