UAE airlines Emirates and flydubai cancelled flights to Baghdad on Wednesday after Iran earlier launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq. Several other foreign airlines said they would now avoid flying over the affected areas.
“Emirates flights EK 943 from Dubai to Baghdad and flight EK 944 from Baghdad to Dubai on January 8 have been cancelled for operational reasons,” an Emirates spokesperson said in a statement.
“We are carefully monitoring the developments and are in close contact with the relevant government authorities with regards to our flight operations, and will make further operational changes if required. As always, the safety of our passengers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority and will not be compromised,” the Dubai-based carrier added.
Its flights to the Iraqi cities of Basra and Najaf would operate on Wednesday, the flydubai said. “We are liaising with the relevant authorities and continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Scheduled flights between the UAE and Baghdad have been cancelled, Emirates said on its website.
Earlier today, the US Federal Aviation Administration said it would ban US carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia after Iran launched a missile attack.
Several foreign airlines said they would now avoid flying over the affected areas.
Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian territory against at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US-led coalition personnel, the US military said on Tuesday.
The FAA said it issued the airspace ban “due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to US civil aviation operations.”
Several non-US airlines had flights over parts of Iraq and Iran at the time, according to FlightRadar24 data. They are not directly affected by the FAA ban, but foreign carriers and their national regulators typically consider US advice carefully when deciding where to fly.
It was Iran’s most direct assault on America since the 1979 seizing of the US Embassy in Tehran. US and Iraqi officials said there were no immediate reports of casualties, though buildings were still being searched.
US President Donald Trump said in a tweet that an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes was underway and that he would make a statement in the morning.
“All is well!” Trump said in the Twitter post. “So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well-equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!”