Saturday, 2 August 2014

Flying Over Iraq?

Since the MH17 disaster many more passengers are taking more notice of what the actual routing of their flights will take. Many are asking questions regarding the safety of flying over various troubled areas, including Iraq. 
Many airlines are divided on whether it is currently safe to overfly war-torn Iraq, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Qantas and Emirates have all announced they are not or will not be flying over Iraq.  Bullish British Airways said it had no plans to alter its routes.
The FAA, the US regulators have ordered all American carriers to take a higher altitude over the country “due to the potentially hazardous situation”. 
Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, the parent company of BA, arrogantly proclaimed  “We fly over Iraq because we consider it safe – if we thought Iraq was unsafe we would not fly over Iraq.”
Emirates decision to re-route flights came after it emerged the US was investigating whether Isis troops had acquired weapons capable to shooting down planes flying at 30,000ft or more. The Dubai-based airline had the largest number of flights overflying Isis-held territory in Iraq, over 50 a day.  Sir Tim Clark, chief executive of the airline, said he was "not comfortable" with Emirates planes crossing the troubled state, since the horrific MH17 downing,  "The horrors that this created was a kick in the solar plexus for all of us. Nevertheless having got through it we must take stock and deal with it.”
Iraq sits below the main flight path between Europe and Asia and hundreds of civilian aircraft pass over it each day. However alternative routes are already well used and fly over Saudi Arabia, the Red Sea and Egypt, alternatively there is an Iranian route which some airlines use. 

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