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Travel to the United States of America will now be a longer trip (much like its visa process). Due to the increasing tensions in Iran and Iraq, commercial airlines are rerouting their flights to the USA. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation of India, the country’s aviation regulator, has advised all commercial carriers in the country to maintain vigilance and caution while traversing over Iran, Iraq and the Persian Gulf, according to news reports. Paying heed to the same, several airlines have decided to avoid the Iranian airspace and reroute their flights accordingly.
This decision comes after the crash of a Ukrainian flight, soon after it took off near Tehran. The crash killed all 176 passengers within.
Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express will also reroute its aircrafts. "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," said the airline’s spokesperson. This action will also inevitably increase fuel costs of the airlines.
This change was caused by the rising threat in the area following ballistic strikes on US-controlled bases in Iraq by Iran. The red flag of war was hoisted by Iran after the revolutionary General Qasswm Soleimani was killed in a drone strike near Baghdad, under US President Trump’s command last week.
International airlines have also boycotted the airspace for the same reason. These include Poland’s national carrier PLL LOT, Air France, KLM (Dutch carrier), and several European airlines. It has been estimated that at least 500 commercial flights use the Iranian airspace on the daily.
In the light of the events, the Ministry of external affairs has released a travel advisory for Indian citizens against travel to Iraq. “In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification. Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq. Our Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq,” said the advisory.
With inputs from PTI
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