Published: Sat, June 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

United Airlines, other carriers divert flights from Iranian airspace amid U.S. tensions

United Airlines, other carriers divert flights from Iranian airspace amid U.S. tensions

With the USA and Iran training guns on each other, and airlines mulling over whether to avoid Iranian airspace, we are all set to see major bedlam as far as air routes are concerned in the coming days. The different accounts could not be immediately reconciled.

In the region itself, the United Arab Emirates civil aviation authority ordered carriers on Saturday to avoid risky air space, a day after some airlines took their own measures.

Iran's foreign ministry summoned a diplomatic representative of the United Arab Emirates on Saturday because the UAE allowed the drone that was shot down to be launched from a USA military base on its territory, the Fars news agency reported. The US denies this.

A USA official said the military had prepared limited strikes on Iran in retaliation for downing the drone, but approval was abruptly withdrawn Thursday night before the attacks were launched.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on June 20, 2019.

Iran has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium and threatened to boost its enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels, trying to pressure Europe for new terms to the 2015 nuclear deal.

The US prohibition does not apply to airlines from other countries, but Opsgroup said it would be taken into consideration by carriers globally. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the USA and Iran into an open conflict, 40 years after Tehran's Islamic Revolution. "We have retrieved sections of the USA military drone in our territorial waters where it was shot down".

"We do not have any intention for war with any country, but we are fully ready for war", Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami said in a televised address.

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The US is sending more troops to the middle east region as tensions with Iran escalate.

The U.S. initially said it was a Navy MQ-4C Triton in worldwide airspace but confirmed later that it was indeed a Global Hawk. "Iran will firmly confront any aggression or threat by America", Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said. Kouhmobarak is about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Tehran and close to the Strait of Hormuz.

"It's time the United States show Iran that their risky games will not be tolerated any longer", he added, writing that the option to deploy troops should remain on the table.

Qantas said it would reroute its London flights to avoid the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman. They have a distinguishable hump-shaped front and an engine atop. But he also suggested that shooting down the drone - which has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737 - was a foolish error rather than an intentional escalation, suggesting he may have been looking for some way to avoid a crisis.

The Guard described the drone as being launched from the southern Persian Gulf but did not elaborate. Restricting airspace complicates airline efforts to keep routes running in a region where airspace is already congested, in part due to ongoing conflicts which have made it unsafe to fly over some countries. AP journalists saw the drones on the base's tarmac during a March 2016 visit by then-Vice President Joe Biden.

IndiGo has changed routes of its West Asia flights while Air India is looking at alternative routes to Europe and the USA in view of tensions in the region, after an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down an American drone.

But he promised the USA would not leave the attack unanswered.

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