British Airways to continue flying over Iraq despite ground threat

Photo: British Airways to continue flying over Iraq despite ground threat
 / Arab World

British Airways (BA) will continue to fly passenger jets through Iraqi airspace despite concerns over the threat of Islamic militants on the ground, the BBC reported Tuesday.

"We fly over Iraq because we consider it safe. If we thought Iraq was unsafe we would not fly over Iraq," Willie Walsh, BA chief executive, said during an interview with the Financial Times.

Walsh said that some passengers may find it "confusing" that airlines took different positions on Iraq adding that each airline company should be able to carry out its own risk assessments about flying over warzones depending on its operations and aircrafts, Al Arabiya reported.

Many jets flying between European and Asian cities fly over Iraq, where the government is fighting jihadists led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which controls much of the north and west of the country.

The airline said it would be reviewing its decision on a daily basis.

Flights from the UK to destinations including Dubai and Doha would normally cross Iraqi airspace, the airliner added.

"Our flight plans vary depending on a number of factors but our highest and first priority is always the safety of our crew and customers," BA said in a statement.

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