Civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, on Wednesday directed Indian airlines to take appropriate precautionary measures, including rerouting of their flights away from Iranian and Iraqi airspace.
The development comes after US-Iran geopolitical tensions in the region escalated on Wednesday.
“A meeting was held with all airlines which operate flights over these airspaces. We have sensitised them to remain vigilant and take all precautions,” a senior DGCA official told.
“All air operators are directed to take appropriate precautionary measures including rerouting of their flights in order to ensure complete safety of passengers.”
At present only Air India uses the Iran-Iraq airspace for operations to Europe and other destinations. Currently, no Indian airline flies directly to Iran, but Air India flies to Najaf in Iraq.
On its part, Air India decided to reroute flights over Iran.
“In light of the tensions within the Iranian airspace a decision to temporarily reroute flights of Air India and Air India Express over flying Iran has been taken,” a spokesperson for the airline said.
“This may lead to an increase in flying time by approximately 20 minutes for flights from Delhi and 30 to 40 minutes for flights from Mumbai. The situation is being closely monitored.”
Precautions are being taken after a Boeing 737-800 aircraft of Ukraine International Airlines crashed on Wednesday morning near Tehran killing all 176 on board. While the reason behind the crash hasn’t been ascertained yet, Ukraine International Airlines said in a press conference that the aircraft that crashed was one of the best planes in its fleet and that it didn’t show any signs of trouble before the crash.
However, given the escalated tensions between US and Iran, DGCA has asked all airlines to take precaution.