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Science & Technology Series: Expert Comment

Flight rerouting may lead to drop in passenger numbers and rise in operating costs

As airlines avoid Iran-controlled airspace, City’s Captain Tilmann Gabriel comments on the impact this will have on travellers.

by Nahda Abdalla (Senior Communications Officer (Dubai))

The recent downing of a US surveillance drone as well as the escalating tensions between the US and Iran have seen UAE airlines, US carriers, Qantas, Lufthansa, and British Airways use alternative flight paths to avoid Iran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.

According to Captain Tilmann Gabriel, Director of City, University of London's MSc Aviation Management Programmes, a former senior aviation executive, this move does not bode well for the airline industry and customers.

“The ongoing flight route diversions will, no doubt, disrupt operations and lead to extended flying times and a rise in fuel prices. Airlines’ operating profit will take a hit, as these additional costs will not be recoverable via ticket prices at such short notice. Any conflict in the Middle East region will have an impact on the aviation industry, forcing airlines to review their flight paths.

"Additionally, it is likely that concerns about a threat to the safety of commercial airlines may lead to a drop in passenger numbers."

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