Tuesday afternoon European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol issued an alert warning of potential airstrikes into Syria with air-to-ground and / or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and advised airlines to take the warning into account when planning flight operations in the eastern Mediterranean.
EASA has issued a notification for airlines on the risk of possible— EUROCONTROL (@eurocontrol) April 11, 2018
military action in the eastern Mediterranean. We have published the notification
on the NOP in accordance with normal procedures for disseminating this kind of
A spokesperson for Air France told the Cyprus Mail Online that the airline had changed some flight paths, including flights through Beirut and Tel Aviv, due to the warning. EasyJet has also rerouted flights from Tel Aviv.
A Lufthansa Group spokesperson told Reuters that its airlines have been avoiding airspace in the eastern Mediterranean for “some time now.” Ryanair, British Airways, Etihad Airways and Royal Jordanian said that flights would continue to operate normally, but that the situation would be monitored closely. Emirates said it would “make adjustments as needed,” while EgyptAir is not currently planning any changes. The only commercial flights being flown above Syria as of Wednesday were on Syrian Air and Middle East Airlines.
Airlines have been forced to be more vigilant in rerouting around conflict zones in recent years following the shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines plane with nearly 300 people onboard over eastern Ukraine in 2014. While some airlines had been avoiding the country for weeks due to the conflict in the region, the incident prompted aviation experts to question Malaysian Airlines’ decision to continue flying the route even after aviation authorities had issued warnings regarding the area. At the same time, rerouting to avoid conflict zones costs extra time and fuel, although at the time Malaysian Airlines denied that this was a motive.