The UK pilots union has welcomed a ban on Iran flights as the country admitted responsibility for the crash of a Ukrainian International Airlines aircraft.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office warned that tensions between Iran and other countries “could escalate rapidly”.
The FCO amended its travel advice to reflect an Iranian statement confirming that its air defence systems mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian Boeing 737 with 176 people on board following take off from Tehran last Wednesday.
This followed advise against all travel to Iran plus air travel to, from and within the country.
The aircraft, en route to the Ukrainian capital Kiev was shot down shortly after Iran had launched missiles at two airbases housing US forces in Iraq.
The British Airline Pilots Association said it welcomed the publication of a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) by the Department for Transport advising airlines not to enter Iraqi or Iranian airspace.
“We expect all UK airlines to follow that advice,” Balpa said.
General secretary Brian Strutton added: “We strongly support the NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) issued from the UK Department for Transport that operators should avoid Iraqi and Iranian territory and airspace.
“We urge the government and airlines to maintain this position until and unless there is a significant improvement in the security situation in the Middle East.
“The precautionary principal should be used in all decision-making in aviation, and that certainly applies here.
“The increasing evidence that the 737 Ukrainian passenger flight PS752 may have been shot down is extremely concerning.
“Peaceful civil aviation should never find itself involved in armed conflict. Our thoughts are with the families of the passengers and crew who fell victim to this tragedy.”
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