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Amid US-Iran tensions, Indian airlines to avoid Iranian airspace

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New Delhi, June 22: Indian airlines havedecided to avoid airspace near the Strait of Hormuz after Iran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone there and American aviation officials warned that commercial jetliners could be mistakenly attacked amid tensions between Tehran and Washington.

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"All Indian operators in consultation with DGCA have decided to avoid the affected part of Iranian Airspace to ensure safe travel for the passengers. They will re-route flights suitably," the DGCA said on Twitter.

However, Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani said the order won't have any substantial effct on Air India flights. "No substantial effect on Air India flights, details being worked out for rerouting of incoming planes," PTI quoted Lohani as saying.

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The DGCA order comes a day after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency directive, restricting US-registered aircraft from operating over the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the overwater area of the Tehran airspace.

The American aviation regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) prohibiting US-registered aircraft from operating "in the overwater area of the Tehran Flight Information Region until further notice, due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions".

The Etihad Airways has also suspended operations through the Iranian airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, a spokesperson said on Saturday. The airline will use alternative flight paths on a number of routes to and from its home base of Abu Dhabi until further notice.

On Thursday, an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a US Global Hawk drone, a $130m (£102m) unmanned aircraft the size of a commercial passenger jet.

Iran has also announced it will soon exceed international agreed limits on its nuclear programme.

Last year, the US unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear activities.

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