Airlines Told to Stay Cautious as Syria Air Strikes Possible

(Bloomberg) -- Eurocontrol, the main air-traffic control agency in Europe, told airlines to apply caution on flights to the eastern Mediterranean region because of possible air strikes on Syria over the next 72 hours.

“Due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations” in the region, Eurocontrol said in an online statement at 11:27 p.m. Monday in Brussels, citing the European Aviation Safety Authority. The EASA issued a rapid alert notification for airspace above the eastern Mediterranean Sea extending to the area above Nicosia, Cyprus, the agency said.

U.S. President Donald Trump, already preparing for a response to Syria’s recent suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians, warned early Wednesday that missiles soon would be fired at the Middle Eastern country in response to a suspected chemical-weapons attack. He aimed his comments at Syria’s biggest international backer.

“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’” he said in a Twitter posting. “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

Amid a renewal of Syria’s civil war, Russia’s military has been jamming telecommunications of some U.S. military drones operating in the area within the past several weeks, according to news media including U.S. broadcaster NBC. Eurocontrol’s warning to carriers included an advisory of possible intermittent disruption in airliners’ radio navigation equipment.

Tim Clark, president of Dubai-based Emirates airline, said at a press conference in Hamburg that the carrier is studying how to reroute planes away from areas near Syria.

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