Most Gulf carriers re-route flights over Sinai after Russian crash

Baku, November 2, AZERTAC

Most Gulf airlines said on Sunday they were re-routing flights to avoid Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, where a Russian aircraft carrying 224 passengers crashed on Saturday.

Carriers from United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait said they would re-route flights as a security precaution until there was more clarity. Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said it would continue to fly over Sinai but avoid certain areas on the advice of Egyptian authorities.

A Russian aviation official said the aircraft had broken up in mid-air but it was too early to draw any conclusions. The Russian plane crashed on Saturday into a mountainous area of central Sinai.

On Saturday, German carrier Lufthansa and Air France-KLM said they had decided to avoid flying over the peninsula while they waited for clarity on what caused the crash.

Qatar Airways, budget carrier Jazeera Airways from Kuwait and Bahrain's Gulf Air said late on Sunday that they would avoid flying over the peninsula.

Earlier in the day, Emirates, flydubai and Air Arabia, all from the United Arab Emirates, confirmed taking the same security precautions.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said it continues to fly over the Sinai region but is avoiding airspace over some of its areas in accordance with instructions by the Egyptian authorities. This would impact "a handful" of its flights, it said in a statement.

Re-routing usually means longer flying distances, which add to fuel costs.

British budget carrier easyJet said it was taking advice from all relevant authorities and was continuing to "actively review" the situation. It said that it, like other British airlines, did not overfly central and northern Sinai on the advice of Britain's Department of Transport.

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