United Airlines said it had suspended flights between New Jersey’s Newark airport and the Indian financial capital of Mumbai following a safety review after Iran shot down a high-altitude U.S. surveillance drone, ONA reports citing Reuters.
The downing of the unarmed Global Hawk aircraft, which can fly at up to 60,000 ft (18,300 m), was the latest of a series of incidents in the Gulf region, a critical artery for global oil supplies, that included explosive strikes on six oil tankers.
“Given current events in Iran, we have conducted a thorough safety and security review of our India service through Iranian airspace and decided to suspend our service,” United said on its website, but did not say how long the suspension would last.
Flight tracking data showed commercial aircraft were flying very close to the unpiloted Global Hawk at the time it was shot down, said OPSGROUP, which provides safety guidance to air operators.
“The threat of a civil aircraft shootdown in southern Iran is real,” it advised operators on Thursday. “Avoiding the Strait of Hormuz area is recommended – misidentification of aircraft is possible.”