Amid the series of foolhardy decisions that resulted in the ongoing US-Iran Conflict, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has restricted the US carriers from flying in the airspace of Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The FAA has released the restrictions as an emergency decision following the multiple missile attacks on the two Iraqi bases, Al-Assad Air Base and a military base in Erbil, from the Iranian region that housed the US troops.
Speaking on the restrictions, FAA said, “All flight operations in the overwater area of the Tehran flight information region (FIR) (OIIX) above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman only are prohibited until further notice due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the region, which present an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations and potential for miscalculation or mis-identification.”
The FAA imposed restrictions on the US Carriers not only point to the increasing US-Iran Conflict with each passing day after the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani but also to the incident of last June when Iran shot down a US drone in the Gulf of Oman.
After the US drone was shot, FAA issued a set of guidelines limiting the US aircraft from flying below 26,000 feet over Iraq, area of Iranian airspace above the Gulf, and the Gulf of Oman.
While the official numbers on casualties and the damages sustained are not yet released, President Donald Trump has claimed that the damages and casualties are minimal in a tweet.
His tweet came after the tweet of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in which he claimed that the missile strikes conducted are in accordance with the UN Charter and that Iran is not seeking to further escalate the US-Iran conflict.
Even though the FAA restrictions do not impact the non-US carriers, there are speculations that they will also follow the orders to ensure that the civilian aircraft are not mistaken for the military aircraft.
Soon after the FAA announcement, Singapore Airlines said that all of its flights will be diverted from the Iranian airspace. Such decisions have ensued after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a missile over Ukraine and killed all 239 people on board.
Additionally, global airlines body International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that an international aviation team was created to aid in “effective coordination and communication” amongst the airlines and countries as tensions flare-up in the Middle East.
The group added, “It is critical that states live up to this obligation as tensions in the Middle East rise.”
On the other hand, a credible source on the condition of anonymity explained the negative impacts of the US-Iran conflict besides the increasing instability in the Middle East and increasing global oil prices and why the restraint from both sides is a must.
He claimed that since the Iraqi and Iranian airspace are strategic for commercial aviation in the Middle East, therefore restricting the US carriers from flying over the Iraqi and Iranian airspace leading to “greater congestion and fuel costs”.
The only question that everyone is looking for answer is, will the US retaliate against the Iranian missile strikes on the Iraqi bases or will it take a well-thought decision that might simmer down the US-Iran conflict?