The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is advising US carriers and commercial operators not to fly over the Arabian (Persian) Gulf. The warning, which was relayed by US diplomatic posts, is due to concerns that the US troops operating in and around the Arabian Gulf could misidentify passenger aircraft for hostile military aircraft. FAA’s advisory on airliners operating over the Arabian Gulf comes amidst rising tensions between the United States and Iran.
Arabian Gulf air traffic
The Arabian Gulf serves as a massive channel for international flights from all regions of the globe bound for destinations in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. Hundreds of flights operate daily over the Arabian Gulf.
According to the flight tracking application Flightradar24, passenger airliners operated by Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airways continue to fly over the Persian Gulf. Earlier today, Kuwait Airways flight 203 from Kuwait City (KWI) to Lahore, Pakistan (LHE), flew from one side of the Gulf to the other at times cruising at just 20,000 feet.
The FAA’s overfly advisory
The FAA does not have the authority to ground foreign aircraft or prevent foreign airlines from operating in the region. However, should tensions between the US and Iran become heightened, flights may be forced to reroute.
Operations at the following airports could be impacted, should airlines begin heeding the FAA’s advisory:
- Kuwait – Kuwait City (KWI)
- KSA – Dammam (DMM)
- Bahrain – Bahrain INTL, (BAH)
- Qatar – Doha (DOH)
- UAE – Abu Dhabi (AUH)
- UAE – Dubai (DXB)
- UAE – Dubai (DWC)
- Oman – Muscat (MCT)
Meanwhile, the US State Department also updated travel advisories in the region to reflect the FAA’s latest advisory. The following advisories were issued this week:
Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions
United Arab Emirates
Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
Level 4: Do Not Travel
Featured image by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images