Dubai: Emirates Clarifies $1.5-Million US Fine For Operating In 'Prohibited Airspace'

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Emirates has reached a settlement with the US Department of transportation (DOT) after receiving a fine for operating flights carrying American low-cost airline JetBlue Airways' designator code in prohibited Iraqi airspace, the Dubai-based airline confirmed to Khaleej Times on Friday.

“The incidents involved 122 flights operated by Emirates, while carrying a JetBlue marketing code, between December 2021 and August 2022,” said an Emirates spokesperson.

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“(We have) reached a settlement with the US DOT, relating to the alleged breach of Special Federal Aviation Regulations (SFAR) that restricted airlines carrying a US air-carrier code from operating below 32,000 feet while over Iraqi airspace,” the airline spokesperson added.

According to a Reuters report,“DOT said on Thursday that it fined Emirates $1.5 million for operating flights carrying JetBlue Airways' designator code in prohibited airspace” as specified by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

This conduct also violated a consent order issued in October 2020, penalising Emirates for operating other flights in airspace under FAA prohibition. Emirates was ordered to pay $200,000 under the 2020 order and another $200,000 if it violated the order within a year.

DOT said flights at issue had traversed the Baghdad flight information region below certain altitudes. The FAA has prohibited all US air carriers, commercial operators and code shares from operating in these areas without special permission.

Clarification from Emirates

Emirates clarified it had intended to operate the 122 flights in question at or above 32,000 feet, but the pilots had to descend into the prohibited area due to orders from Air Traffic Control (ATC).

“Our pilots duly followed ATC instructions, a decision which is fully aligned with international aviation regulations for safety reasons. Emirates' priority is always the safety of our passengers and employees,” the airline's spokesperson said.

Emirates no longer operate flights with US carrier codes over Iraqi airspace. JetBlue, whose code share with Emirates ended in 2022, declined to comment, according to Reuters.


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Khaleej Times

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