Some global airlines are re-routing flights to avoid Iran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman, they said on Friday, after the U.S. aviation regulator barred its carriers from the area until further notice.
Thursday’s emergency order from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) came after Iran shot down a high-altitude U.S. drone with a surface-to-air missile, sparking concerns about a threat to the safety of commercial airlines.
The downing of the unarmed Global Hawk drone, which can fly up to 60,000 ft (18,300 m), was the latest in a series of incidents in the region, a critical artery for global oil supplies, that included explosive strikes on six oil tankers.
According to flight tracking applications, the FAA said, the nearest civil aircraft was operating within about 45 nautical miles of the unmanned aircraft when it was shot down.
“There were numerous civil aviation aircraft operating in the area at the time of the intercept,” the FFA said, adding that its prohibition would stay in place until further notice.
Hours earlier, United Airlines suspended flights between New Jersey’s Newark airport and India’s financial capital of Mumbai following a safety review.
Malaysia Airlines, Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd, Singapore Airlines Ltd, Germany’s Lufthansa, British Airways and KLM of the Netherlands said they were re-routing flights to avoid the area.