Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Passengers flying between the UK and India endured a nightmarish 36-hour delay as their airline plotted a new route because of US-Iran tensions

Passengers trying to fly between the UK and India were delayed for 36 hours, with the airline blaming "airspace restrictions" along the flight route before it ultimately plotted a route that avoided Iraq's airspace and flew further from Iran.

The delay to TUI flight TOM30 comes as a number of countries advise their citizens to avoid both Iran and Iraq after the US assasinated Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last week, heightening tensions in the region.

UK newspaper The Independent reported that TUI told passengers trying to fly in both directions: "Due to recent political issues in the Middle East, this has resulted in airspace restrictions along the route of your flight."

The airline did not clarify what restrictions are in place.

The flight — which took off for Goa from London Gatwick on Monday morning, and was supposed to do so on Saturday evening — ultimately avoided Iraq's airspace and flew further from Iran. The alternate route took the plane over Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
But other airlines are not avoiding flying over Iraqi airspace.

A spokesperson for British Airways told The Independent: "Our teams are closely monitoring the situation. Flights continue to operate normally."

The TUI plane had last flown the route between London and Goa on December 28, when it went over Iraq, and close to Iran.
07/01/20 Sinéad Baker/Business Insider

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