Virgin Atlantic fined $1m for repeatedly flying in restricted airspace over Iraq

Virgin flights to South America
By Linsey McNeill
18/01/2023
Home » Virgin Atlantic fined $1m for repeatedly flying in restricted airspace over Iraq

Virgin Atlantic has been slapped with a $1.05m fine for flying in restricted airspace over Iraq on numerous occasions.

The US Transportation Department (USDOT) said Virgin breached the ban between September 2020 and September 2021 on flights between the UK and India.

At the time, other foreign governments – including the UK – permitted flying over Iraq airspace at high altitudes, with numerous flights operating over Iraq on a daily basis.

However, as Virgin flights carried a Delta Air Lines’ code it was obliged to comply with a Federal Aviation Administration notice, which prohibited all flights over Iraqi airspace without prior approval.

The FAA had issued the notice in March 2020 ‘due to heightened activities and increased tensions in Iraq’. Virgin was issued with a notice of non-compliance by the USDOT on 15 September 2021.

In a statement issued to Travel Gossip, Virgin said: “As soon as we were made aware of this compliance issue by the DOT, our code share flight routings were immediately corrected.”

It added: “The safety and security of our aircraft, customers and crew was never compromised at any point and remains our highest priority.”

The airline said it has also since invested in an automated tool that alerts airlines at the flight planning or operational stages of any regulatory restrictions impacting theirs or their codeshare partners’ flights.

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