Emirates announced last night that it will no longer allow its planes to fly over Iraq due to concerns about the dangers posed by Islamic militants, also known as ISIS.
Tim Clark, chief executive of the airline, announced planes would be re-routed along other flight paths to avoid becoming targets for surface-to-air missiles from fighters in the troubled country. Emirates is taking precautionary steps to prevent an MH17 repeat from occurring through war torn areas with its planes.
The airline make up the largest number of flights that pass over ISIS-held territory in Iraq. Presently, the airline has more than 50 flights a day traveling in and out of UK airports.
Mr Clark’s decision came after it emerged the United States was investigating whether ISIS rebels in Iraq had acquired weapons from Syria which are capable to shooting down planes flying at 30,000ft or more, similar to the technology used in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists.
Iraq sits below the main flight path between Europe and Asia and hundreds of civilian aircraft pass over it each and every day.
New routes will take planes to Europe via Saudi Arabia, the Red Sea and Egypt. The change in routes may add up to 45 minutes to flight times.