Air India, Vistara flights to avoid Iranian airspace


Air India flights to Frankfurt on Saturday bypassed Iran and flew over Tajikistan resulting in longer flight duration
| Photo Credit: PTI

Amidst rising tensions in West Asia, Air India and Vistara decided on Saturday to avoid the use of Iranian airspace, which is expected to impact flights to Frankfurt, New York and Newark, and may result in higher airfares.

Air India and Vistara flights to Frankfurt on Saturday bypassed Iran and flew over Tajikistan resulting in a flight duration of eight hours instead of the usual 7 hours and 30 minutes.

“Contingency routes, which are kept available to ensure operational continuity during such eventualities, are being used,” said a Vistara spokesperson.

It remains to be seen what route Air India’s ultra long-haul flights to the U.S. will take. The airliner’s 11 leased Boeing 777 aircraft, used for these flights, do not have adequate oxygen storage for flying over the Hindukush mountains enroute to Tajikistan. These Boeing 777s have oxygen for emergency use for 15 minutes per passenger whereas flying over the Hindkush needs oxygen for at least 22 minutes per passenger as the aircraft has to fly at a higher altitude to stay clear of the range.

In a statement, Air India said: “Our aircraft will operate on alternate flight paths to and from India.”

On Friday, Lufthansa announced that it will avoid the Tehran airspace. Flights to Delhi on Saturday, which cut across Iraq, Kuwait, the UAE and Pakistan to enter India, took 9 hours 47 minutes, up from the usual eight hours.

“Safety is our top priority and due to the current situation in the Middle East we have taken the decision to circumvent Iranian airspace,” said a Lufthansa spokesperson.


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