DUBAI, July 28 Dubai's Emirates airline
said on Monday it will avoid Iraqi airspace, as the
government in Baghdad struggles to contain Islamic insurgents
who have captured vast areas of the country.
After Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down earlier
this month by a ground-to-air-missile in eastern Ukraine,
airlines around the world have been rethinking flight routes to
avoid airspace over countries facing conflicts.
Emirates, along with Europe's largest airline Lufthansa
and other rivals, have called for an airline summit to
discuss the industry's response to the downing of an airliner,
saying international security protocols should be reviewed.
"Emirates is taking precautionary measures and is currently
working on alternative routing plans for flights using Iraqi
airspace," the Gulf airline said in a statement.
"We are closely monitoring the situation along with
Presently, Iraq falls under the flight path from Asia to
Europe, raising security fears for airline operators of attack
similar to the one on the Malaysian jetliner in Ukraine.
Emirates is one of the Middle East's largest airline with dozens
of flights each day to and from Europe.
The statement did not specify which alternate flight route
could be used.
Iraqi police on Monday found the corpses of 15 people,
including three women shot in the head in militia-style
killings, a bloody start to the holiday marking the end of the
Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, security sources said.
Fears have been growing of a relapse to the dark days of
sectarian civil war which peaked in 2006-2007 since the Sunni
ultra-hardline group Islamic State seized large swathes of the
north last month.
Emirates also suspended all its flights to Kiev and none of
its planes fly over the Ukraine airspace.
The Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organisation
(ICAO) plans a meeting of top officials from the airline
industry and air traffic controllers to discuss the respective
roles of each in airspace over conflict zones.
(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Louise Heavens)