Friday, 21 June 2019

Airliners warned not to fly over Strait of Hormuz as war looms

Major international passenger airliners have been warned not to fly directly over the Strait of Hormuz following the downing of a US drone by Iranian forces.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has issued an emergency notice to American air carriers to halt flying over the contentious area, citing the danger from "heightened military activities and increased political tensions" indicating that commercial aircraft may be at risk, especially from mistaken identity. 

British Airways is among the leading airlines that have begun rerouting flights, other airlines also changing flight plans are Etihad, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Emirates.

KLM said, "Safety is the top priority for KLM. We closely follow all developments that may be related to the safety of airspace 24/7 and we organize the operation in such a way that the safety of the flights is guaranteed. The incident with the drone is reason not to fly over the Strait of Hormuz for the time being. This is a precautionary measure."

The FAA says "the Iranian surface-to-air missile shoot-down of a US unmanned aircraft system on 19 June 2019 while it was operating in the vicinity of civil air routes above the Gulf of Oman". Many analysts have seen this move a forerunner to military action by the US.

The President,  Donald Trump warned his country was "cocked and loaded to retaliate" against Iran, indeed a plan to attack a number of targets was launched but he changed his mind 10 minutes before the strikes. Trump claims he called off the strikes because he was told that 150 people would be killed.  He tweeted: "10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.".

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