UAE airlines like Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai and Air Arabia have started avoiding restricted airspace around the Gulf of Oman
The decision by airlines in the Middle East to reroute some of their flights away from Iranian airspace and the Gulf of Oman will have an impact on some airfares, but the severity of the impact will depend on where passengers are flying to, according to several aviation experts.
Airlines in the UAE, such as Emirates, FlyDubai, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia said over the weekend that they would start rerouting some flights after the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) called on them to reassess their flight paths in light of rising tensions in the region.
“The worse affected in the event of the airspace closure shall and will be the enroute traffic that comes in from Europe to South East Asia; Europe to Australia and Europe to the South China Sea,” aviation expert Mark Martin, the founder of Martin Consultancy, told Arabian Business.
Broken down by geography, Martin said that flights between the Middle East and Asia and South East Asia will not see much impact on airfares, the impact between the Middle East and Pakistan, Russia and Europe would be moderate, while the most severely impacted would be flights between the Middle East and the CIS countries in Eurasia.
Saj Ahmad, an analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research, said, “Airlines have more than enough fuel contingency built into their flight plans so they won't necessarily themselves be paying more for hauling more fuel around because of the prevailing situation.
“With that in mind, I don't foresee either this stalemate lasting nor do I see extended flight times given the plethora of airways and traffic routes in and out of key hubs like Dubai.”
Similarly, John Strickland, director of JLS consulting, told Gulf News that the competitive nature of the industry as present meant the airlines were more likely to absorb any additional costs, rather than pass them on to customers.