Air India suspends flights to Tel Aviv; airlines avoid Iranian airspace, BA

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109294075An air traffic graphic shows the airspace over Iran and the neighboring Middle East at 00:00 GMT, April 14, 2024. Flightradar24.Com/Handout via REUTERS

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An air traffic graphic shows the airspace over Iran and the neighboring Middle East at 00:00 GMT, April 14, 2024. Flightradar24.Com/Handout via REUTERS

As tensions flare in the Middle East, Air India has temporarily suspended its flights to Tel Aviv and airlines have mapped out alternate flight routes to avoid Iranian airspace. Longer flight routes will result in higher operational costs for the airlines, and the situation could also push up airfares.

Air India, Vistara, IndiGo e inte and some international airlines are avoiding Iranian airspace and have chosen alternative routes for their flights to the West. A senior pilot of a widebody aircraft with an Indian airline told PTI that the alternate routes increase the flight duration.

With the revised flight routes chosen after taking safety and security into account, the duration of some flights has increased by about half an hour, the pilot said.

Such a scenario will result in higher operational costs, higher fuel consumption and may require more crew members to be deployed for flights due to service time limitations. The pilot also believed that the increase in costs could even be passed on to passengers, meaning international airfares could increase.

Iran launched dozens of drones and missiles at Israel in a retaliatory attack. Amid escalating tensions between Iran and Israel, Air India decided to temporarily suspend flights to Tel Aviv from Delhi on Sunday.

Air India operates four weekly flights between the national capital and the Israeli city. The Tata group airline resumed flights to Tel Aviv on March 3 after a nearly five-month hiatus.

Air India and Vistara have opted for alternative flight routes for their flights to the West. An official with knowledge of the matter said IndiGo, which operates flights to Istanbul on planes leased from Turkish Airlines, is avoiding Iranian airspace. Air India said on Saturday it is closely monitoring the situation in the Middle East and its planes will operate on alternative flight routes to and from India. On Saturday, Vistara said it is making changes to the flight paths of some flights due to the situation in the Middle East.

On Sunday, India said it was concerned about the escalating hostilities between the two sides that are threatening regional peace and security.

Iran carried out the attack on Israel in response to a suspected Israeli attack on its consulate in Damascus on April 1, killing seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards personnel, including two generals.

  • Published on Apr 15, 2024 12:41 PM IST

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