WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday restricted U.S. airlines and commercial operators from flying over Iraq while armed conflict raged and the United States launched air strikes.
The FAA had previously, on Aug. 1, restricted U.S. airlines from flying at or below 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) over Iraq. The latest order will be reviewed by year-end.
The move reflected “the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict between militants associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Iraqi security forces and their allies,” the agency said in a notice to airmen.
The ban applies to all U.S.-registered planes except those operated by foreign carriers, and to FAA-licensed pilots, but makes an exception for flights operated with U.S. government permission.
U.S. warplanes on Friday bombed Islamic State fighters marching on Iraq’s Kurdish capital of Arbil, after President Barack Obama said Washington must act to prevent “genocide.”
The order comes after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down on July 17 by a missile over a rebel-held area of eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.
Several non-U.S. carriers have already suspended flights over Iraqi airspace for security reasons.
Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Sandra Maler