CAL, EVA Air avoid airspace of Iran, Iraq on Wednesday


Taipei, Jan. 8 (CNA) China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways (EVA Air) rerouted their flights to Europe on Wednesday to avoid the airspace of Iran and Iraq after Iran fired missiles at military bases in Iraq but would not say if that will continue in the coming days.

CAL and EVA Air, the two largest international carriers in Taiwan, were among many major airlines in the world to take action to divert or cancel flights amid rising geopolitical tensions in the region.

CAL said its cargo flights to Europe were rerouted over the airspace of Turkmenistan or Saudi Arabia, while none of its passenger flights to Europe fly over the two Middle East countries.

EVA Air said that none of its flights to Europe fly over Iraq and that flights that use Iranian airspace, such as flights to London via Bangkok and to Vienna and Amsterdam were diverted Wednesday to ensure safety.

Neither airline could confirm whether the route changes would continue Thursday or in the coming days, saying that flight paths would be decided based on the situation in the region.

The rerouting of flights Wednesday came after Iran launched ballistic missiles against multiple bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq. The attack was a retaliatory action taken by Tehran following the U.S. killing of Iran’s top military leader Qassim Soleimani last week.

Foreign carriers KLM and Air France said their flights did not need to be rerouted. KLM flights between Amsterdam and Taipei fly over China and Russia, while Air France flights between Paris and Taipei fly over China and Central Asia.

Turkish Airlines has not yet announced any plan to reroute its flights between Istanbul and Taiwan, although its flights fly over northern Iran.

Meanwhile, CP Travel Service Corp., one of the few Taiwanese travel agencies organizing trips to the Middle East, said it has decided to cancel a group trip to Iran which had been previously scheduled to depart on Jan. 26.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Frances Huang)

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