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Image Credit: Etihad Airways

Dubai:  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, 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.

Earlier, Fly Dubai and Emirates airline said they had ‘adjusted some of their flight paths as a precautionary measure’ after a US drone was shot down over the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

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A Fly Dubai spokesperson said on Friday: “Fly Dubai is aware of the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued by the FAA for US-based airlines. Fly Dubai adjusted some of the existing flight paths in the region as a precautionary measure. We continue to monitor the situation and make changes when necessary.”

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Emirates added: “In light of the current situation, Emirates has taken precautionary measures including rerouting all flights away from areas of possible conflict. 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 reroutings 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.”

Etihad

Abu-Dhabi based Etihad released a statement to Gulf News on Friday evening announcing that they too were re-routing relevant flights.

"Following the decision today of the US Federal Aviation Administration to ban US airlines from operating in a section of Iranian-controlled airspace, Etihad Airways has consulted closely with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority to evaluate the US action. Safety is paramount to Etihad Airways, and together with the GCAA we have agreed to change a number of the flight paths we operate to and from the Arabian Gulf. Etihad Airways will provide updates on affected flights on its global website, etihad.com, as information is provided by regulatory authorities about the airspace restriction," an Etihad spokeperson said. 

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The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order prohibiting all US flights over water areas of Iranian airspace above the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman after Thursday’s incident.

Air Arabia

Air Arabia spokesperson said: ‘Air Arabia is aware of the notice issued by the FAA for US based airlines. 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’.

Other airlines and routes

This followed a release by United Airlines saying that it had suspended flights between Newark, New Jersey, USA and Mumbai, India following a safety review.

“Given current events in Iran, we have conducted a thorough safety and security review of our India service through Iranian airspace and decided to suspend our service between EWR and BOM,” said United in a statement.

Qantas, Air France and KLM later announced they would also avoid flights through the region.

Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines are joining other airlines in rerouting flights away from the Strait of Hormuz area after Iran shot down a U.S. military drone there.

Singapore Airlines said on Friday that some of its flights will take "slightly longer routings" to avoid the area because of the ongoing tensions. It said the safety of its customers was its top priority and that it continuously reviews the areas that it overflies.

Malaysia Airlines said it has rerouted its flights to and from London, Jeddah and Medina because "safety is of utmost importance." It said it is closely monitoring the situation and will be guided by various assessments, including security reports and advice from airspace control authorities.

The shooting down of an unarmed Global Hawk drone was the latest in a series of incidents in the region, which also follow attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman and airports in Saudi Arabia. The nearest civilian aircraft was 45 nautical miles from the drone when it was shot down, according to flight trackers said the US FAA.