FAA puts restrictions on flights over Iraq

August 3, 2014 |

Amid growing conflict between forces fighting for the Iraqi government and rebels from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a restriction that prohibits planes that travel at an altitude of less than 30,000 feet from flying over Iraqi airspace.

According to CNN, the Notice-To-Airmen (NOTAM) also means that flights are banned from flying in and out of the Iraqi semiautonomous capital of Erbil as well as the Kurdish controlled city of Sulaymaniyah, despite being considered a safe place for thousands of refugees who are suffering because of the conflict.

The ban will require planes, including those who are transporting passengers on business travel, to use alternate routes in order to avoid the potentially dangerous region. 

The Associated Press said that U.S. airlines were already issued a restriction from flying over Iraqi airspace at less than 20,000 feet, but the new prohibition on flights at 30,000 feet was relayed on July 31. 

According to the AP, the new NOTAM was issued over fear that there were militants on the ground with weapons that were capable of gunning down planes, similar to what was used to bring down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 of eastern Ukraine.