Qantas Sees No Risk Flying Over Iran and Caspian Sea

14th Oct 2015

A warning from the European regulator issued on Tuesday, stating that there is an increased missile activity above Iran and the Caspian Sea, convinced some airlines to change their flight plans, but Australian Qantas is not one of them.

So far, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air France are among those who rerouted their flights after the warning from the European Aviation Safety Agency regarding Russian missiles being fired above this zone.

A statement from EASA reads:

"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."

However, Qantas has ignored the warning. CEO Alan Joyce said:

"If we believed any airspace had risks that were unacceptable and meant that it wasn't safe to fly through, Qantas would not be flying through them. But the information that we have, it is safe to do so."

Earlier, a Qantas spokesperson said the company is keeping an eye on air corridors and that it remains in contact with both Australian and international security community.

The spokesman said:

"There is nothing to suggest any elevated risk with our current air corridors over Iran, which are also used by many other airlines on a daily basis. We're monitoring the situation in consultation with the Australian and international security community, and have alternative flight paths in place should they be required."

National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Tony Sheldon, however, doesn't think it is up to Qantas to decide whether the risk is an acceptable one or if it is not.

Sheldon commented:

"We have this information about missiles entering the airspace. Passengers are putting their faith in the airline and Qantas must be able to guarantee their safety."

Interestingly enough, Qantas started flying over Iran last year in order to avoid conflict zones in Iraq and the ground-to-air missiles fired from there.