Major airlines rerouting flights amid US-Iran tensions

Major airlines rerouting flights amid US-Iran tensions
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Major airlines worldwide began rerouting flights Friday to avoid the area where Iran shot down a U.S. drone, The Associated Press reports.

After officials confirmed Thursday that an Iranian surface-to-air missile system shot down the $130 million RQ-4 Global Hawk, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned of a “potential for miscalculation or misidentification” in the region.

In a statement posted to Twitter, the FAA said all flight operations above the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman are prohibited until further notice due to “heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the region, which present an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations.”

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Australia’s Qantas, British Airways, Dutch airline KLM and Germany’s Lufthansa have also said they will avoid the region, according to the AP.

The agency also issued an advisory to operators Thursday night, saying the nearest civil aircraft was within about 45 nautical miles of the drone Iran shot down. 

The emergency order comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran that escalated with the downing of the drone.

Iranian state broadcaster IRIB justified the attack, saying the drone was in “violation of aviation rules,” while U.S. Central Command said the downing was an “unprovoked attack.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE, who said Thursday morning that “Iran made a very big mistake,” reportedly approved a military strike against Iran in response to the drone’s downing but eventually pulled back, The New York Times reported.

The FAA issued a similar warning to commercial airlines in May amid heightened tensions after the Trump administration sent a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the region.