AMMAN (Reuters) - Royal Jordanian, one of the main airlines serving Iraq, said on Saturday it had suspended all flights to Baghdad for at least 24 hours on security grounds.
The Jordanian state carrier was “monitoring security developments” in Iraq and would review the resumption of flights over Iraqi airspace on Sunday, said Basel Al Kilani, an airline spokesman.
Royal Jordanian until recently had an extensive network over Iraq, with a weekly total of 30 flights, serving Baghdad 11 times a week, as well as Basra in the south, and Irbil and Sulaymaniya in the Kurdish north.
It stopped its twice-weekly flights to Mosul shortly after the northern city fell in June to the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
Royal Jordanian’s suspension follows similar action by other major airlines after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 on June 17 over a conflict zone in eastern Ukraine with the loss of 298 people on board.
Air France-KLM, Britain’s Virgin Atlantic [VA.UL], Air Berlin and Poland’s LOT [LOT.UL] said earlier this week they had suspended flights over Iraq for security reasons.
Emirates [EMIRA.UL] had already said it was avoiding the area.. Germany’s Lufthansa said it was avoiding certain areas of Iraq though sticking to frequently used paths. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad said it was still flying to and over Iraq, while Australia’s Qantas was continuing to fly over the country, according to Australian media reports.
About 30 airlines temporarily suspended flights to Tel Aviv earlier this month to comply with a ban by the Federal Aviation Authority issued when hostilities erupted between Israel and the Palestinian militant organization Hamas. The ban has since been lifted.
Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Lynne O'Donnell