Airlines expected to follow Emirates lead in ditching Iraq route

Airlines could stop flying over Iraq amid fears that Islamic extremists operating in the country have missiles that could down a commercial airliner.

Emirates president Sir Tim Clark has announced that his airline will stop flying over the country and that he believes others will follow suit.

A key route for commercial flights heading east from the UK takes them directly over the Iraqi city of Mosul where a stronghold of militants in Isis.

Reports at the weekend said that intelligence services have expressed a “real concern” that Isis fighters may have acquired weapons similar to that which downed Malaysian Airlines’ MH17.

They are thought to have attained the technology capable of hitting an aircraft at 30,000 feet from Syrian stockpiles.

Clark said that all airlines will by the end of the year have a new system designed so they can share information about flight paths thought to be a problem.

And he said he expected to see greater input from governments offering advice, even if it meant one country warning about another’s airspace.

The Times reported Clark as saying: “This is a political animal…but the fact of the matter is MH17 changed everything, and that was very nearly in European airspace.

“We cannot continue to say ‘well it’s a political thing’. We have to do something. We have to take the bull by the horns.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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