first_imgUnited on Friday announced the suspension of its Newark-Mumbai flight service in view of growing tensions between the United States and Iran.On Thursday, Iran shot down a drone belonging to the US over Tehran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. “Given the current events in Iran, we have conducted a thorough safety and security review of our India service through Iranian airspace and decided to suspend our service,” United said on its website, but did not say how long the suspension would last. However, Swedish airline and airport tracker Flightradar24 said the suspension was initially for three days.The Mumbai-Newark flight on Thursday night was cancelled and the airline will now operate a non-commercial flight to Honolulu on Saturday. Meanwhile, Air India officials said all their operations to the US and Europe were on schedule. “We have not received any advisory from the government or authorities handling Iranian airspace. In the wake of the Pakistan airspace closure, all our flights go through Tehran-controlled airspace,” a senior official said.OPSGROUP, a blog site that offers safety guidance to air operators, said commercial aircraft were flying very close to the unpiloted Global Hawk at the time that it was shot down. “The threat of a civil aircraft shootdown in southern Iran is real. Avoiding the Strait of Hormuz area is recommended – misidentification of aircraft is possible,” it said in a blog post.The unmanned drone that was shot down is said to have a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737 jetliner.The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency order to US civil aircraft, prohibiting all American aircraft operators from entering the Tehran Flight Information Region in the area above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.By way of a Notice to Airmen that was issued at 1.48 a.m. UTC or 7.18 a.m. Indian Standard Time on June 21, FAA specifically prohibited any US airline or aircraft operator from flying within Iranian airspace in the region that the US drone was shot down in. In a statement, the US FAA said, “Although the exact location of the attack is not yet available, there were numerous civil aviation aircraft operating in the area at the time of the intercept. According to flight tracking applications, the nearest civil aircraft was operating within approximately 45 nm of the Global Hawk when it was targeted by the Iranian SAM.”FAA, it said further, “remains concerned about the escalation of tension and military activity within close proximity to high volume civil air routes and Iran’s willingness to use long-range SAMs in international airspace with little to no warning. As a result, there is concern about the potential for misidentification or miscalculation which could result in the inadvertent targeting of civil aviation.”last_img

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