US bars Newark-Mumbai flights using Iranian airspace after Iran shoots down drone
Washington, June 21: The US Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday issued an emergency order prohibiting US operators from flying in an overwater area of Tehran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman due to heightened tensions.
The order came hours after United Airlines suspended flights between New Jersey's Newark airport and Mumbai, which fly through Iranian airspace, following a safety review after Iran shot down a high-altitude US surveillance drone.
In a statement, United Airlines said,''Given current events in Iran, United Airlines has conducted a thorough safety and security review of our India service through Iranian airspace and decided to suspend our service between New York/Newark and India (Mumbai) beginning today evening.''
On Thursday, two other carriers, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, said they did not fly over Iran. Japanese carriers Japan Airlines Co Ltd and ANA Holdings Inc also said they did not fly over the area.
The downing of the unarmed Global Hawk aircraft, which can fly at up to 60,000 ft (18,300 m), was the latest of a series of incidents in the Gulf region, a critical artery for global oil supplies that included explosive strikes on six oil tankers.
Earlier on Thursday, Iran shot down a United States military drone on Thursday, further escalating the already volatile situation playing out between Washington and Tehran in the Middle East.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard said it had shot down an "intruding American spy drone" after it entered into the country's territory Thursday.
However, contradictiry to it, the US suggested that the drone had been flying in international airspace when it was shot down, at a point about nine nautical miles southwest of that cited by Iran.