Airlines worldwide have rerouted flights to avoid the airspace near Strait of Hormuz Friday after a US military surveillance aircraft was shot by an Iranian surface-to-air missile on Thursday, in the wake of this incident the US officials have warned about a possible risk of commercial jetliners flying over this airspace getting mistakenly attacked due to the ongoing tension between Tehran and Washington.
OPSGROUP, a firm that advises airlines says “The threat of a civil aircraft shoot down in Southern Iran is real” and cited an example of the downing of a Malaysian Airlines jetliner in Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 passengers aboard.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned all commercial jetliners of the possibility of getting attacked by Iranian aircraft gunners due to the mistaken identity of US military drones.
The military drone that was downed Thursday was an unmanned U.S. Navy RQ 4A Global Hawk with a wingspan larger than the Boeing 737 and is valued at USD 100 million.
The FAA said that the area affected by Thursday’s warning includes the airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.
In a statement released to the media, the agency says “FAA 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 (surface-to-air missiles) in international airspace with little to no warning.”
Meanwhile, many airlines worldwide have rerouted their flights Friday after the warning. Qantas plans to reroute its London flights to avoid the affected airspace. British Airways, Malaysia Airlines, KLM, and Singapore Airlines also plan to reroute their flights to avoid the Strait of Hormuz
The downing of the military drone Thursday by Iran is further heightening the crisis between Tehran and Washington. The actual crisis between both the countries began when the US under the leadership of Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and imposed sanctions on Tehran.