European aviation authorities have advised airlines to alter routes over the Middle East due to missiles being fired into Syria under the flight path of passenger planes. Qantas has thus far refrained from commenting on the issue.
The warning comes from European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), who say they were informed of “several launches of missiles from warships” in the Caspian Sea into Syria. The long-range missiles are being fired from Russian warships in the Caspian Sea as part of President Vladimir Putin’s air offensive against Islamic State.
“Before reaching Syria, such missiles are necessarily crossing the airspace above Caspian Sea, Iran and Iraq, below flight routes which are used by commercial transport aeroplanes,” the October 9 bulletin says.
Qantas had no comments on the EASA’s warning, but a spokesman said the airline always monitored and consulted with the intelligence community on safety risks.
“We have alternative flight paths in place if we decided they were necessary,” he said.
Qantas did re-route its Dubai-London services in the wake of the MH17 disaster last year, flying over Iranian airspace instead of the more direct route over Iraq, to avoid contact with the heavy conflict zone.
European airlines, including Air France and British Airways, are also affected by the EASA’s warning. Air France has already began altering its flight routes in response to the warning, but BA has announced no plans.