With U.S. airstrikes in progress airspace over Iraq has been closed to civilian flights

One of the busiest commercial routes went over Iraq. Until it was closed because of the U.S. air strikes against ISIS positions.

Even if the situation in Iraq was already quite difficult, with Iraqi gunships and attack planes striking ISIS terrorists around Mosul, it was not until Aug. 8 that the airspace over Iraq was banned to civil aircraft as a consequence of the first U.S. airstrikes in the country.

Until the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned all U.S. airlines (followed by British Airways and all the other major ones) from flying over Iraq because of the “hazardous situation” created by the armed conflict in the region, hundred commercial flights crossed each day the Iraqi airspace on their way between Europe and Asia and (vice versa), at high altitude, well above the reach of MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense Systems) and the weapons known to be in the hands of the militants.

The following image, from Flightradar24.com, shows aircraft (those equipped with ADS-B transponder) crossing the airspace over Iraq on Aug. 8 (top) and Jul. 8 (bottom). It looks like U.S. flights are currently routing through Iranian airspace, that is considered safer than Iraqi one.

FR24 Iraq flight ban

Image credit: FR24.com


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.