UAE airlines’ operations remain normal despite US air safety warning

Published: Thursday, June 6, 2019

UAE-based airlines have continued to operate normally even after the United States issued an air safety warning regarding ‘heightened’ military activities in the Middle East.

Etihad Airways, Emirates and flydubai told a local newspaper that they have not made any changes to their flight plans, although they are keeping a close watch of the situation.

The United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has advised all American airlines to ‘exercise caution’ when operating over the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It said that due to increased activities of armed forces, as well as political tensions, in the area, some civilian aircraft could be misidentified.

The security alert was addressed to all American carriers and operators. Domestic airlines contacted by local newspaper said they are aware of the FAA warning and that they are in touch with the local civil aviation authority and other authorities in the field.

“At this time, there are no changes to our flight operations. We are in close contact with the relevant authorities in the UAE and internationally and are monitoring the situation closely,” a spokesperson for Emirates said.

The airline assured that the safety of its operations remains its ‘utmost priority’ and that it ‘will never be compromised’.

Etihad, for its part, said they are closely coordinating with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and air navigation service providers globally. “We continue to operate normally, however, [we] are closely monitoring the situation.”

At flydubai, a spokesperson said, pilots continue to follow internationally approved flight paths. “We are aware of the notice and we will continue to monitor the situation and comply with any directives issued by our regulator, GCAA,” the airline said.

Other non-UAE airlines have also shared a similar response.

Concerns started to emerge about the situation in the region since the US deployed warships and bombers to the area.

On May 12, four commercial cargo ships were subjected to sabotage operations near UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of Fujairah.

About two days later, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Khalid Al Falih, confirmed that two oil pumping stations had been attacked by explosive-laden drones.