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Despatched right into a tizzy by Iran-Israel tensions, airways scramble to search out protected flight paths

NEW DELHI: The worsening Iran-Israel battle has triggered pockets of turbulence in air journey, with Air India tweaking the timings of some of its ultra-long-haul flights and quickly suspending sorties to and from Tel Aviv.Pilots are reporting a spurt in GPS sign jamming and spoofing within the battle area, prompting route planners to always scramble the charts to search out safer options.Airways have began including fuelling stops for some nonstops between West and South Asia, together with India, due to the longer routes they’re pressured to take now to keep away from Iranian airspace.Air India’s San Francisco-Mumbai AI 180 was diverted to Dubai on Sunday for refuelling. Because the flight couldn’t fly the same old polar path to keep away from Iran, it needed to take an extended path.“Airspaces of not just Israel but also nearby countries like Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon close when attacks are feared to happen. Jordan is a crucial overfly area. Attacks mostly happen at night, and the airspace reopens at daytime,” a supply mentioned.The state of affairs is dynamic. Airspaces typically shut when a flight is en route, leaving ATC scurrying to search out another in actual time.Whereas Air India’s Tel Aviv flight has been suspended, Iranian airline Mahan Air’s Delhi-Tehran flights are working. No Indian provider has flights to Iran. Air India first suspended the Delhi-Tel Aviv flight on Oct7, 2023, after Israel was attacked. Flights resumed on March 3, solely to be suspended once more.The Hindukush route, or Papa 500, was began by Air India for its nonstop flights between Delhi—Mumbai and the West, particularly North America, when Afghanistan airspace was closed some years in the past.This has proved a boon for the airline, together with the truth that it nonetheless overflies Russia. The previous Boeing 777s which have an additional oxygen tank are utilizing this route and are usually not impacted by Iran’s airspace closure. Nevertheless, the ex-Delta and Etihad B777s taken by the airline haven’t got the additional oxygen tank and, due to this fact, can’t overfly the Hindukush.Swiss Air’s nonstops between Zurich and Delhi will take a fuelling halt in Vienna.“Flights to south India are not affected, but those to Delhi and Mumbai will be,” mentioned a senior official of one other European airline.GPS alerts are extra incessantly jammed round locations like Iran and Turkey. “We inform ATCs about this en route and ask them to monitor aircraft position on radar. We are using the alternate DME-DME update that uses the plane’s last location to keep track of its location,” a senior pilot mentioned.US carriers have been avoiding Iranian airspace for a very long time now and their truncated nonstops to India are usually not impacted by the latest hassle.

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