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United Airlines suspends Newark-Mumbai flights over Iran airspace concerns

United Airlines suspends Newark-Mumbai flights over Iran airspace concerns

There are fears commercial airliners could be mistakenly attacked.

The Federal Aviation Administration warned of a "potential for miscalculation or misidentification" in the region after an Iranian surface-to-air missile on Thursday brought down a U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737 jetliner and costing over $100 million.

The statement read: "All flight operations in the overwater area of the Tehran flight information region above the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman are prohibited until further notice due to heightened military activities and political tensions in the region".

Tensions in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman region have been escalating during the past weeks following attacks on oil tankers in the region.

"There were numerous civil aviation aircraft operating in the area at the time of the intercept", FAA said.

The order came hours after United Airlines suspended flights between New Jersey's Newark airport and the Indian financial capital of Mumbai, which fly through Iranian airspace, following a safety review afterIran shot down a high-altitude USA surveillance drone. British Airways, too, rerouted flights away from the strait while Australia's Qantas, and Germany's Lufthansa said they too would avoid the region.

Other carriers, such as Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, and FlyDubai, issued less specific statements saying they will adjust some of their flight paths, especially those passing over the Strait of Hormuz.

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The FAA said it remained concerned about the escalation of tension and military activity in close proximity to high-volume civil aircraft routes as well as Iran's willingness to use long-range missiles in global airspace with little or no warning.

Some of the world's leading carriers including British Airways, Qantas and Singapore Airlines on Friday suspended flights over the Strait of Hormuz, as US President Donald Trump confirmed that he backed down at the last moment from launching air strikes on Iranian targets.

Iraq combat veteran Bryan Suits gives his take on Iran's attack against a US military drone. "The threat of a civil aircraft shootdown in southern Iran is real".

Indian carriers will steer clear of the risk-fraught parts of Iranian airspace while overflying through that region on their flights to and from India.

Tensions between the USA and Iran have been on the rise since the Trump administration withdrew from a 2015 nuclear accord between the two nations. Qatar Airways did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Friday on whether it had introduced new measures since the drone was shot down.

Following this, American mega carrier United Airlines indefinitely suspended its Mumbai-Newark (EWR) daily nonstop.

"We continue to explore all our options and remain in close contact with relevant government authorities in order to provide our customers with the most efficient travel experience under these circumstances", the spokesman said. OPSGROUP, which offers guidance to global air carriers, recommended avoiding Iran's airspace and the Strait of Hormuz area in a new notice.