Federal Aviation Administration warned of "heightened military activities" in the region
Airlines in the United Arab Emirates are continuing to operate as normal and have not altered their flights paths, despite a warning by the US aviation authority that “heightened military activities” pose an “inadvertent risk” to commercial aircraft flying over the region.
The advisory, issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) late on Thursday said the warning to all US commercial aircraft came amidst “heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the region which present an increasing inadvertent risk to US civil aviation operations due to the potential for miscalculation or mis-identification”.
Dubai’s Emirates airline said in a statement it was continuing to operate as normal: "At this time, there are no changes to our flight operations. We are in close contact with the relevant authorities in the UAE and internationally and are monitoring the situation closely."
A Flydubai spokesperson said: “Flydubai follows international approved flight paths, we are aware of the notice and we will continue to monitor the situation and comply with any directives issued by our regulator GCAA.”
Similar statements were also issued by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Sharjah-based Air Arabia.
The FAA advisory comes amidst heightened tensions between Iran and the US. Earlier this month, the White House issued a statement from the National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton. The full statement read: “In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force. The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”
The FAA warning also comes as the Lloyd's of London insurance firm on Friday widened its list of areas in and around the Gulf posing "enhanced risk for marine insurers". The move comes after four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, were damaged in attacks off the coast of the UAE.
In a statement issued today by the Saudi Press Agency, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Minister of the State for Foreign Affairs and Member of the Cabinet, stressed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region and does not seek to do so and will do its utmost to prevent this war, while stressing that if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will respond firmly and decisively and will defend itself and its interests.
Last week, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, called for restraint amidst the growing tensions. "We are very committed to de-escalation, peace and stability," he told journalists at a briefing in Dubai. "We need to emphasise caution without throwing accusations. We have always called for restraint and we will always call for that."