UAE aviation regulator directs airlines to avoid risky airspace amid US-Iran tension

GCAA tells UAE-registered carriers to stop operating in areas that could "jeopardise" safety

The GCAA's instructions came a day after national airlines took their own measures.. Delores Johnson / The National
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The UAE's civil aviation regulator instructed the country's airlines to take safety precautions given the current geopolitical risks amid escalating tensions between the US and Iran.

Airlines registered in the UAE should evaluate flight paths affected by the airspace restrictions in the region, the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority said on Saturday, according to state news agency WAM.

Operators must "avoid operating in areas that could jeopardise civil aviation safety and operations", Wam cited the GCCA.
The directives comes after the US Federal Aviation Authority on Friday prohibited American carriers from flying over Iranian airspace, prompting airlines around the world to divert flights away from the airspace controlled by Tehran. The move follows rising tensions as the US blamed Iran for attacks on six tankers in the Gulf and shooting down an American drone in international airspace.

The GCAA's instructions came a day after national airlines took their own measures.

Dubai-based Emirates, the world's biggest carrier by international traffic, said on Friday it re-routed flights away from areas of possible conflict.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said it consulted the GCAA and decided to change flight paths.

Budget carrier Flydubai said it would adjust some flight paths as a precautionary measure.

In the broader Arabian Gulf region, Bahrain's Gulf Air said it is evaluating flight path changes and working with authorities on contingency plans should the situation escalate further.

Globally, Deutsche Lufthansa, Netherland's flag carrier KLM, Cathay Pacific and Australia's Qantas Airways are among carriers re-routing long-haul flights to avoid the Strait of Hormuz.

US president Donald Trump on Friday said he called off air strikes just minutes before they were scheduled to hit Iranian targets because he believed many civilians would die.

The UN Security Council is set to meet on Monday to discuss the issue.