UAE's Emirates Airline suspends flights to Iraq's Arbil

by Reuters
Saturday, 9 August 2014 13:42 GMT

DOHA, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Dubai's Emirates said on Saturday it had suspended flights to the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil due to increased security concerns, UAE's state news agency (WAM) reported.

An Emirates spokesman said the airline will continue to operate daily, non-stop flights between Dubai and Basra, along with its four-times weekly service to Baghdad.

"We are closely monitoring the situation along with international agencies, and will never compromise the safety of our passengers and crew," the spokesman said.

On Friday, U.S. warplanes bombed Islamist fighters marching on Arbil after President Barack Obama said Washington must act to prevent "genocide".

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways this week suspended all flights to Arbil and re-routed other flights to avoid conflict airspace in Iraq.

Air France-KLM, Britain's Virgin Atlantic and Germany's Air Berlin also said earlier this week they were not flying over Iraqi airspace for security reasons.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday restricted U.S. airlines and commercial operators from flying over Iraq while armed conflict raged and the United States launched air strikes.

The FAA had previously, on Aug. 1, restricted U.S. airlines from flying at or below 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) over Iraq. The latest order will be reviewed by year-end, the FAA said. (Reporting by Amena Bakr; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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