Air India is rerouting its flights and that of its subsidiary, Air India Express that use the Iranian airspace. The decision was taken in light of escalating tension between Iran and the United States. According to an Air India spokesperson, this temporary arrangement will see flight times extend by up to 40 minutes.
"In light of the tensions within the Iranian airspace a decision to temporarily reroute flights of Air India (AI) and Air India Express (AIX) overflying Iran has been taken. This may lead to increase in flying time by approximately 20 minutes for flights from Delhi and 30 to 40 minutes for flights from Mumbai," said Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar.
On Wednesday morning, Iran launched missile strike on US military bases in Iraq on Wednesday in retaliation of the assassination of its top general Qasem Soleimani last week. Additionally, an Ukranian plane carrying 176 people crashed near Tehran shortly after take-off. Following these developments, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has cautioned Indian carriers to remain vigilant and take all precautions in airspace over Iran, Iraq, Gulf of Oman and waters of Persian Gulf.
The Ministry of External Affairs has also issued a travel advisory for India citizens following the prevalent tension in the Middle East. The ministry has asked Indian nationals to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification. Also, Indian nationals who are residing in Iraq have been advised to be alert and avoid travelling.
"Our Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq," the MEA said.