Qatar’s recent diplomatic isolation by its Middle Eastern neighbours and the ensuing suspension and rerouting of flights in the region is obviously big news in the travel sector. Much of the focus has been around the inevitable implications that this will have on airlines and passengers in terms of enforced layovers, extended flight times and inevitable ticket price increases.
What may not be so immediately apparent, is the potential impact that the situation may have on flight safety. With an increasing number of flight paths already passing directly over or very near to known conflict zones, airlines are finding it increasingly difficult to find commercially viable routes that avoid these areas completely. Indeed, Qatar’s national carrier, Qatar Airways, was fined $185,000 in 2016 by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for flying over “unsafe” areas of the world.
The additional restrictions now in place in the Middle East only go to compound this already difficult situation and with options becoming ever more limited, could some airlines be forced into putting themselves and their passengers at risk of more than just a commercial disaster?
Karl Kirkcaldy, Anvil Group’s Head of Risk Intelligence, explains more in his post: ‘How Safe Are Our Skies? Mitigating the risk to commercial flights operating in airspace over hostile environments’