Local airlines resume flights to Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq

Local airlines resume flights to Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq

Airspaces were closed on 13 April amid security concerns

Amid rising tensions in the Middle East and an Iranian drone attack on Israel, several Middle East countries – Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel – temporarily closed their airspace to arriving, departing and transiting flights over 13 and 14 April 2024.

All airspaces have now reopened. During the closure approximately 40 flights were disrupted, including some of those operated by Emirates and Etihad.

Updates from the airlines confirm that Etihad Airways resumed its flights to Amman in Jordan, Beirut in Lebanon and Tel Aviv in Israel from Abu Dhabi on Monday 15 April. After cancelling and rerouting some flights on Sunday, Emirates also resumed flights to Jordan and Lebanon, as well as Iraq, once airspace restrictions were lifted.

The airspace closures were put in place from Saturday 13 April, causing disruption to leisure travellers returning from Eid holidays and business travellers departing for the following week's obligations. The closure followed a retaliatory drone strike on Israel by Iran. 

According to Alarabiya News: "Iran launched explosive drones and fired missiles at Israel late on Saturday [13 April 2024] in its first direct attack on Israeli territory in a retaliatory strike that raises the threat of wider regional conflict."  

CNN reported that Iran launched the attack in response to a suspected Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, which took place 1 April 2024, adding that the airstrike destroyed the consulate building, "killing at least seven officials".

New sources reported that 99% of the more than 300 drones and missiles directed towards Israel by Iran and its allies were intercepted by Israel's sophisticated air defence system and its own allies.

Jordan, while not directly involved in the conflict is bounded to the north by Syria, to the east by Iraq, to the southeast and south by Saudi Arabia, and to the west by Israel and the West Bank (so named as it lies west of the Jordan River).

The US Embassy in Jordan alerted its citizens of the situation, saying: "Due to high tensions in the region, the security environment remains complex and can change quickly. We remind US citizens of the continued need for caution and encourage them to monitor the news for breaking developments."

In updated advice from the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) regarding Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a statement read: “We recognise this a fast-moving situation that poses significant risks. The situation has potential to deteriorate quickly and without warning. This could disrupt air and road links out of the country. If your reason to remain in Israel and the OPTs (Occupied Palestinian Territories) is not essential you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.”

A spokesperson added: “The UK condemns in the strongest terms Iran’s direct and unprecedented attack against Israel, as well as their violation of Jordan and Iraq’s airspace. At a time of great tension in the Middle East, this was a profoundly dangerous and unnecessary escalation by Iran.”

In the wider travel sector, more and more tour companies are changing their itineraries due to security concerns, with many cruise lines withdrawing their Red Sea itineraries. 


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