Abu Dhabi: The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has called on registered air operators within the UAE to evaluate flight paths affected by recent airspace restrictions in the region.
In a statement on Saturday, the GCAA said that given current regional developments and as a precautionary measure, UAE-registered air operators need to avoid operating in areas that could jeopardise civil aviation safety and operations.
On Saturday, Etihad Airways announced it is suspending operations through Iranian airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.
In a statement, the national airline of the UAE said, “Following the decision yesterday of the US Federal Aviation Administration to restrict US airline operations in Iranian-controlled airspace, Etihad Airways consulted closely with the UAE GCAA and other UAE airlines to evaluate the US action.”
“Etihad Airways has subsequently suspended operations through Iranian airspace over the Straits of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, and will use alternative flight paths on a number of routes to and from Abu Dhabi until further notice,” it added.
The airline said that these changes will cause delays on some departures from Abu Dhabi, “due to increased congestion in available airspace, and will increase journey times on some routes.”
“The safety of our passengers and staff is the highest priority,” Etihad Airways assured, adding that it is “continually engaging with regulatory authorities and conducting our own risk assessments to ensure that our standards are not compromised.”
Updates on affected flights will be provided on the Etihad Airways website, the statement concluded.
On Friday, Emirates airline said that in light of the current situation, the airline has taken precautionary measures, including rerouting all flights away from areas of possible conflict.
An Emirates spokesman said in a statement, “We are carefully monitoring the ongoing developments and are in close contact with the relevant government authorities with regards to our flight operations, and will make further operational changes if the need arises.”
The re-routings have minimally affected the arrival/departure timings of some flights, and we urge customers to check the latest schedules on emirates.com, so they can be informed of any flight changes. As always, the safety of our passengers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority and will not be compromised,” he added.
Other UAE carriers like flydubai and Air Arabia have also readjusted their flight paths. A flydubai spokesperson said: “Flydubai adjusted some of its existing flight paths in the region as a precautionary measure. We continue to monitor the situation and make changes when necessary.”
An Air Arabia spokesperson said, “We have taken all necessary precautionary measures to avoid areas of possible conflict. We are carefully monitoring the situation and working closely with the UAE Civil Aviation Authority in this regard.”
The US Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, issued an emergency order on Thursday prohibiting US air carriers from flying in Iran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman due to heightened tensions.
Some international airlines are taking precautions following the FAA order.