Global airlines reroute flights after Iran downs U.S. drone

Footage released by US CENTCOM shows the smoke trail of the RQ-4A falling from the sky after being hit by IRGC missile system

Footage released by US CENTCOM shows the smoke trail of the RQ-4A falling from the sky after being hit by IRGC missile system

The Strait of Hormuz is a tiny strip of water located between the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Iran.

The national airline highlighted their flights cross the Middle East at 40,000 feet. Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Iran shot down a USA drone over worldwide waters, though Iran claims the US violated their airspace. It added that impacted passengers would be rebooked on alternative flights.

In the wake of ongoing tensions between U.S. and Iran, American carrier United Airlines has suspended its flight between New York/Newark and Mumbai from Friday evening.

The Strait of Hormuz is a v-shaped body of water connecting the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and offering an exit into the Arabian Sea (and the Indian Ocean), with Iran to its north and the United Arab Emirates and Oman to the south.

Airlines rerouted flights Friday to avoid airspace near the Strait of Hormuz after Iran shot down a USA military surveillance drone there and American aviation officials warned that commercial jetliners could be mistakenly attacked amid tensions between Tehran and Washington.

The Iranian system that targeted the U.S. drone - an unmanned craft with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737 jetliner - was similar to the Russian Buk missile system that took down MH17, OPSGROUP noted.

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However the USA military insists the drone was over worldwide waters at the time.

Business Insider noted Iranian airspace is often transited by flights from the U.S.to India, and from Australia to Europe, so the disruption could have significant worldwide repercussions if it continues.

"Since MH17, all countries rely on advice from the USA, the U.K., France and Germany to highlight airspace risk", it said. A Global Hawk has a unit cost of roughly $123 million, while an F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter costs only $89 million. Along with the American drone was an American P-8 aircraft with 35 on board, and it was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too.

Last week, the USA said Iran had attempted to strike another one of its drones which had circled above the stricken tankers. The US insisted that the UAV was over neutral waters, with Donald Trump saying that he'd only called off retaliatory strikes against Iran just 10 minutes before they were to be executed.

The President pulled back from attacking Iran on Thursday evening, according to The New York Times. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the targets would have included radars and missile batteries.

A White House insider told the New York Times planes were in the air and ships were in position when the mission was called off - against the advice Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John R. Bolton and Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel. He later appeared to play down the incident, telling reporters in the Oval Office that he had a feeling "a general or somebody" being "loose and stupid" made a mistake in shooting down the drone. "We've retrieved sections of the USA military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down", Zarif tweeted. 'It would have made a big, big difference'.

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