Several flights grounded, diverted as airspaces close after Iran attacks Israel

Emirates airline cancelled its Dubai-Amman flight scheduled for Sunday

By Agencies

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FILE. Photo: AP
FILE. Photo: AP

Published: Sun 14 Apr 2024, 8:07 AM

Last updated: Sun 14 Apr 2024, 1:43 PM

Airspace closures through the Middle East grounded and diverted flights on Saturday as Iran launched drone attacks on Israel.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said it launched dozens of drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday, an attack that may trigger a wider regional conflict.


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UAE flights affected

Some flights to and from the UAE have been impacted as multiple countries in the region closed their airspaces temporarily. Two Flydubai flights that took off for Amman, Jordan, and Tel Aviv, Israel, had to return to Dubai as a result.


Emirates airline cancelled its Dubai-Amman flight scheduled for Sunday. Dubai-based airline in a statement announced the cancellation and rerouteing of some flights.

"Emirates advises customers departing or arriving at Dubai International Airport to check their flight status on emirates.com for the latest information regarding their flights.”

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways said it is re-routing a number of its European and North American flights on Sunday, April 14, to overfly Saudi Arabia and Egypt following “notification of the closure of airspace over Israel, Jordan and Iraq”.

Air-traffic disruption

Air France’s Israel service was cancelled for Sunday and British Airways cancelled its two flights to Tel Aviv on Sunday and scrubbed a flight to Amman. Lufthansa also cancelled its service to Israel.

United Airlines called off its Newark to Tel Aviv flight on Saturday after Israel closed its airspace.

Australia's Qantas Airways said on Saturday it had temporarily rerouted flights between Perth and London on concerns about the Middle East, as expectations rose of an attack by Iran on Israel.

Qantas said no flights between Perth, the capital of Western Australia state, and London had been paused or cancelled but that flights on the route were operating on an adjusted flight path via Singapore.

Kuwait Airways said early on Sunday it decided to divert all incoming and outgoing flights away from “areas of tension” in view of the security situation in the region and concern for the safety of its passengers.

Countries reopen airspace

Iraq reopened its airspace on Sunday hours after suspending all air traffic, the Iraqi aviation authority announced.

The Iraqi civil aviation authority announced in a statement "the reopening of the airspace" and resumption of flights to and from airports across the country, saying there were no longer any "security risks to civilian aircraft".

Local Kurdish media in northern Iraq reported that Iranian drones had flown over the autonomous Kurdish region overnight.

Jordan, which neighbours Iraq as well as Israel, and Lebanon similarly reopened their respective airspace on Sunday, as did Israel which said the Iranian attack had been "foiled" with most launches intercepted overnight.

Lebanon's Transport Minister Ali Hamie told AFP that "we have resumed flights since 7 am (0400 GMT), and we're monitoring the situation." The international airport in Beirut "has resumed its work," he added.

Israel, which had closed its airspace since 12:30 am (2130 GMT on Saturday) in anticipation of the Iranian attack, has reopened it by 7:30 am (0430 GMT), the Israeli airports authority said.

Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon had earlier announced temporarily closure of their airspace.

Jordan

Jordan announced temporary closure of its airspace late on Saturday to all incoming, departing and transit aircraft.

Interference in Jordanian air traffic affected Jordan's GPS system prompting planes in the area to use alternative navigation systems, Haitham Misto, the chairman of Jordan's Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission, said on Al-Mamlaka.

The Jordanian Civil Aviation Regulatory Authority (CARC) has announced the extension of the closure of Jordanian airspace until 11 a.m. local time.

Lebanon

The Lebanese Ministry of Public Works and Transport has announced an immediate and temporary closure of the nation's airspace in response to the ongoing regional developments. The decision, effective from 1:00 AM to 7:00 AM on Sunday, April 14, encompasses all incoming, outgoing, and transit flights over Lebanon.

As a result, all air traffic at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport has been suspended for the duration mentioned. The Lebanese authorities have promised to review the airspace closure continuously and adjust measures based on the developments.

Iraq

Iraq has announced the closure of its airspace, coinciding with the Iranian strike against Israel.

The closure is effective from 11:30 pm local time (2030 GMT) on Saturday to 05:30 a.m. local time (0230 GMT) on Sunday, the Iraqi Aviation Authority said, indicating that this suspension might be prolonged if necessary.

Egypt

The Egyptian government categorically denied the rumours circulated by some media outlets and social media platforms about the emergency closure of Egyptian airspace on Sunday. All Egyptian airports is operating normally without any interruption.

EgyptAir decided to suspend its flights to and from airports of Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon due to regional tensions and in light of the closure of airspace in these countries, a statement by Egypt's national carrier said.

Israel

Israel’s airport authority said its airspace will be closed from 12:30 a.m. Sunday after the army reported Iran launched drones at Israel directly from its territory.

“In accordance with the guidance of the security system, starting at (12:30 am) the airspace of the state of Israel will be closed to international and domestic flights,” the statement said.

Israel El Al Airlines has cancelled 15 flights scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, the carrier said on Saturday as hostilities with Iran surged and Israel closed its airspace as a precaution.

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