Dubai: Airlines in the Gulf region are becoming increasingly cautious of the security situation in strife-torn Iraq and are re-routing their flights to maintain a safe distance from the troubled zone.
Bahrain`s national carrier, Gulf Air, has announced the re-routing of its European flights to avoid northern Iraqi airspace, as the airline takes further precautions amid growing concerns over the deteriorating security situation.
The airline`s European flights, which are the only flights to operate over northern Iraqi airspace, will be re-routed effective immediately using alternate, more secure flight paths.
This change will apply until further information becomes available as the national carrier continues to monitor the situation closely.
Gulf Air`s existing Iraq operations (3 weekly flights to the Iraqi capital Baghdad and daily flights to Al-Najaf) are being reviewed on a day-to-day basis in advance of operations.
At the moment, flights between Bahrain and the two Iraqi cities continue as normal although Bahrain`s national carrier is taking the necessary precautions while working closely with government and air traffic control authorities in Iraq to prepare for all eventualities.
On Thursday, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways suspended all flights to Erbil, Iraq with immediate effect.
"The decision to suspend the four flights a week passenger service follows advice regarding the possibility of a deteriorating security situation in the region as a result of on-going military conflict between Iraqi security and ISIS forces," the airline said.
Days later, the airline said it will re-route its flights to avoid conflict airspace in Iraq.