By James Mathew
India's foreign ministry has also advised Indian nationals to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq
India on Wednesday urged airlines operating in the country to remain vigilant and take all precautions in airspace over Iran, Iraq, Gulf of Oman and waters of the Arabian Gulf.
India’s aviation regulator - the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) - held urgent meetings with Indian carriers that operate on international routes and have sensitised them to remain vigilant and take all precautions, according to official sources.
All Indian carriers fly over Gulf of Oman to reach various destinations in the Middle East, while flights from India to Europe, US and beyond use the airspace over Iran.
“As of now, there are no changes in the flight plans for our operations to the Gulf region,” a senior executive with Air Indian Express told Arabian Business.
“We are currently awaiting further orders from DGCA to work on our action plan – to work out alternate route plans or …..We will go by the government advisories/orders,” the executive added.
Air India Express operates majority of its flights to various destinations in the Middle East.
Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Vistara also operate flights to various destinations in the Gulf region.
The US Federal Aviation Administration has earlier issued Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) outlining flight restrictions that prohibit US airlines from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Airline sources said the DGCA was currently re-assessing the situation in the Gulf region and also studying the FAA’s latest guideline.
“There is a possibility that DGCA could be revising the advisory (on flying over airspaces over Iran, Iraq and the Gulf) during the day,” a spokesperson said.
India’s foreign ministry has also advised Indian nationals to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq.
"In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.
“Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq. Our Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq," Kumar said.