Etihad warns of delays after suspending flights over Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman

The move comes amidst growing tensions between the US and Iran



Abu Dhabi airline Etihad Airways has suspended operations through Iranian airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, it announced on Saturday.

The move comes after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Friday restrictions on US airlines flying over Iranian-controlled airspace, as tensions between Tehran and the US escalate.

Etihad said it will use alternative flight paths on a number of routes to and from Abu Dhabi until further notice.

“These changes will cause delays on some departures from Abu Dhabi, due to increased congestion in available airspace, and will increase journey times on some routes,” the airline warned in a statement.

“The safety of our passengers and staff is the highest priority for Etihad Airways, and we are continually engaging with regulatory authorities and conducting our own risk assessments to ensure that our standards are not compromised,” it added.

Etihad said it will provide updates of affected flights on its website.

The move by Etihad comes after the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) called on registered air operators within the UAE to evaluate flight paths affected by the airspace restrictions in the region.

In a statement, the GCAA said that “given current regional developments and as a precautionary measure, UAE-registered air operators need to avoid operating in areas that could jeopardise civil aviation safety and operations”.

Dubai airline Emirates also announced on Friday that flights will be re-routed from areas of possible conflict in the Gulf.

Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated in recent weeks, and the latest directive comes after Tehran shot down a US drone in international airspace late last week.

Read: Iran shoots down US military drone, oil prices surge

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has also altered the path of its international flights away from the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya reported on Sunday.