NEW DELHI: As tension between Iran and the US mounts with the former bombing a US base in Iraq, Air India has changed route and stopped flying over Iranian airspace, which is likely to add make flights to Europe up to 40 minutes longer.

Sources in Air India said that the airline has already started to fly around the Iranian airspace.

“The safety of our passengers and crew members comes first. In light of the tensions within the Iranian airspace a decision to temporarily reroute flights of Air India (AI) and Air India Express (AIX) overflying Iran has been taken. This may lead to increase in flying time by approximately 20 minutes for flights from Delhi and 30 to 40 minutes for flights from Mumbai. The situation is being closely monitored,” said Dhananjay Kumar, spokeperson for Air India.

With Air India doing it, other airlines like IndiGo, which operates flights to Istanbul, is also likely to change its routes. IndiGo could not be contacted immediately for the story.

Due to tension between the US and Iran, which saw the US killing Iran’s top general and Iran retaliating by bombing US military base in Iraq has heightened tension in the region. The US-based Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has already asked its carriers to avoid flying over Iran and Iraq. Tensions are set to escalate further, as the US may further bomb Iran.

The Indian government had not categorically asked its airlines to avoid route over the Iranian Airspace but has asked them to take all precautions, including avoidance.

“No formal instruction as yet. However we had held meetings with the concerned Airlines and have sensitized them to remain vigilant and take all precautions. It includes avoidance,” said a senior DGCA official, who did not want to be identified adding that the call has to be taken by the airlines.

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