Flight Safety Concerns: Air India Suspends Tel Aviv Routes, Avoids Iranian Skies

New Delhi: With the Middle East tensions flaring up, Air India has temporarily suspended its Tel Aviv flights and airlines have charted alternative flight paths to avoid the Iranian airspace.

Longer flight paths will result in increased operational costs for the carriers, and the situation could also push airfares higher.

Air India, Vistara, IndiGo and some international airlines are avoiding Iranian airspace and have opted for alternative paths for their flights to the West.

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A senior wide-body aircraft pilot at an Indian carrier told PTI that the alternative paths are increasing the flight duration.

With the revised flight paths chosen after taking safety and security into consideration, the duration of some flights has increased by around half an hour, the pilot said.

Such a scenario will result in higher operational costs, increased fuel usage and more crew members might have to be roped in for flights as there are duty time limitations.

The pilot also opined the rise in expenses could even be passed on to the passengers, which means that international airfares could rise.

Iran launched dozens of drones and missiles at Israel in a retaliatory attack.

Amid the escalating tensions between Iran and Israel, Air India on Sunday decided to temporarily suspend the flights to Tel Aviv from Delhi.

Air India operates four weekly flights between the national capital and Israeli city.

The Tata group-owned carrier recommenced services to Tel Aviv on March 3 after a gap of nearly five months.

Air India and Vistara have opted for alternative flight paths for their flights to the West.

An official in the know said that IndiGo, which operates flights to Istanbul with aircraft leased from Turkish Airlines, is avoiding the Iranian airspace.

Air India on Saturday said it was closely monitoring the Middle East situation and that its aircraft will operate on alternative flight paths to and from India.

On Saturday, Vistara said it is making changes to the flight paths of some of the flights due to the situation in the Middle East.

On Sunday, India said it is concerned over escalating hostilities between the two sides that threaten regional peace and security.

Iran carried out the attack on Israel in response to a suspected Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus on April 1, in which seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards personnel, including two generals, were killed.

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