WASHINGTON — The Obama administration ordered U.S. airlines not to fly over Iraq following the first U.S. airstrikes there Friday, while carriers from other nations said they were suspending service to the Iraqi city of Irbil because of the hostilities.
A Federal Aviation Administration notice to pilots says the ban was prompted by the “potentially hazardous situation created by fighting between militants” associated with the Islamic State group and “Iraqi security forces and their allies.”
The ban applies to all U.S.-registered planes except those operated by foreign carriers and to FAA-licensed pilots. Flights operated with U.S. government permission and for emergency situations are exempt. The FAA previously allowed limited flights over Iraq to altitudes above 30,000 feet.
Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant said the airline stopped flying over Iraq several weeks ago. United Airlines stopped flying over Iraq more than a week ago.