Iran’s missile strikes against two US-occupied air bases in Iraq on Tuesday has resulted in the Federal Aviation Authority issuing a NOTAM preventing US carriers from overflying Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Currently, the notice only applies to US carriers, although several international airlines have rerouted flights around the region, including Ukraine International Airlines, which lost one of its Boeing 737-800s in a take-off accident at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing all those on board.
The aviation information service OpsGroup has instructed operators to assume that the 737 was shot down until further notice, as the crash was around the same time missiles were being launched against US bases, although at present there has been no connection established between the two events. But, images posted on the OpsGroup web site show apparent projectile holes in the fuselage and a wing section. Whether the projectile was part of the engine or a missile fragment remains open to debate at the moment, and caution in terms of any kind of speculation is being advised.
On Wednesday, Middle Eastern airlines cancelled flights to Baghdad along with EgyptAir, Emirates Airline and Flydubai.
It’s anticipated that other airlines will either cancel or re-route flights through Iranian or Iraqi airspace include Qantas, Air France and Lufthansa.