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Gulf Air reroutes European flights over Iraq

Manama, August 10, 2014

Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, yesterday announced rerouting of its European flights to avoid Northern Iraqi airspace, as the airline takes further precautions amid growing concerns over the deteriorating security situation.

The airline's European flights, which are the only flights to operate over Northern Iraqi airspace, will be rerouted effective immediately using alternative, more secure flight paths, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

The national carrier said the change will apply until further information becomes available as it continues to monitor the situation closely.

Gulf Air operates three weekly flights to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad and daily flights to Najaf.

"At the moment, flights between Bahrain and the two Iraqi cities continue as normal although Bahrain's national carrier is taking the necessary precautions while working closely with government and air traffic control authorities in Iraq to prepare for all eventualities," the airline said in a statement.

It said it is "wholly committed to the safety and security of its passengers and crew."

Emirates also yesterday joined other major airlines such as Etihad, Turkish Airlines, Australian Airlines, Lufthansa and British Airways, in addition to all US airlines in avoiding flying over Iraq.

The GDN reported on August 1 that Gulf Air was setting up contingency plans to counter the growing threat of war-torn countries along its flight routes.

Gulf Air and the Dubai-based Emirates had flown over eastern Ukraine until flight Malaysia Airline flight MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile on July 17, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.

Following the incident, the airline announced that its flights surrounding Ukrainian airspace had all been rerouted in reaction to the growing threat. – TradeArabia News Service




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