Etihad reroutes flights over Iraq ‘conflict airspace’ as Turkish resumes northern Iraq flights

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BAGHDAD – Etihad Airways is re-routing its flights to avoid “conflict airspace” in Iraq, as Turkish Airlines says it has resumed its flights to the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.

Both airlines announced their decisions Saturday, a day after the Obama administration ordered U.S. airlines not to fly over Iraq following the first U.S. airstrikes there.

Etihad, based in Abu Dhabi, made its decision following a similar move by Dubai-based Emirates, the Mideast’s largest carrier. Etihad cancelled its flight to Irbil on Thursday, though it said its flights to Basra and Baghdad will continue to operate as normal.

Turkish Airlines said Saturday it was changing its flight times to Irbil.

The decisions come three weeks after a Malaysia Airlines plane with nearly 300 people on board was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

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