Airlines from Gulf region continue their route in the Iranian airspace despite rising tensions

Rerouting the aircraft would affect the profits of the airlines

Several airlines from the Gulf region is till routing their planes through the Iranian and Iraqi airspace despite the military strikes between the US and Iran making the airspace dangerous for travel.

According to executives and analysts, the civilian flights from this region find it difficult to reroute because many of the carriers headed to the European and Asian destination stop in the Gulf region before connecting the flight to the other side of the world.

Qatar Airways and several other airlines still fly in the Iraqi and Iranian airspace and to the cities in both the countries even after the military strikes for the same reason. During the latest incident between Iran and the US, a civilian flight had attacked a Ukrainian flight in Iran's airport killing several civilians.

The airlines continue to grow despite the turmoil

Emirates flight
An Emirates flight takes off (Representational Image) Pixabay

Even as the regional turmoil continue to brew in the Gulf the airlines have grown in profits. According to the companies, the rerouting of the flights will affect the profit and they insist that they take any precaution necessary to keep the passengers safe.

"Iranian airspace is important for all carriers in this region," said Adil al-Ghaith, Emirates' senior vice president, commercial operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran.

Dubai-based Emirates and sister carrier flydubai together serve 10 cities in Iran and Iraq and have continued to use the airspace of both countries for other flights.

Kuwait Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways have continued using Iranian and Iraqi airspace.

"We will continue to fly to Iran because Iran is an important country to us and it is our neighbour and we want to serve the people of Iran," Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said on the sidelines of a Kuwait aviation conference.


Qatar has forged closer economic ties with Iran since 2017 when neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab states cut relations with Doha in a diplomatic row.

The Qatari state carrier turned to Iranian airspace to keep its network that flies through its Doha hub operating.

At the same time, many other international carriers have rerouted flights to avoid Iraq and Iran since the military strikes this month, including Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), Air France (AIRF.PA), Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) and Qantas (QAN.AX).

Some regional carriers have also rerouted changed their routes. Bahrain's Gulf Air has redirected European flights away from Iraqi airspace and now flies longer, more fuel consuming routes over Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

"We want to take the safest option even if it costs us a little bit more for a period of time. We can live with that," Gulf Air Deputy Chief Executive Waleed Abdulhameed al-Alawi told Reuters.

The UAE regulator told its carriers — Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia (AIRA.DU) — this month to "evaluate flight path risks" although it said it was up to the airlines to make the final decision on the routes they chose.

"Gulf carriers face a big challenge but that doesn't mean that risks can be taken - even if that inflicts damage on the business model," independent aviation consultant John Strickland said.

Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752, bound for Kyiv, was shot down in error after taking off from Tehran on Jan. 8, killing all 176 people aboard. Iran said on Saturday it was sending the black boxes to Ukraine.

(With inputs from agency)