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Virgin Atlantic fined £870,000 for ‘inadvertent’ flights over Iraq airspace

Virgin Atlantic claims it broke an American ban prohibiting flying over Iraq, after being fined by the US authorities more than PS870,000

After identifying that “significant” number of flights by the carrier between India and the UK had crossed restricted airspace in Iraq, the US Department of Transportation penalized with $1.05m (PS870.700).

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), at the time, banned US airlines from flying at any altitude due to “heightened militia activities” and “increased tensions in Iraq“.

Civil planes are still prohibited by the US federal agency below 32,000 feet.


The FAA placed restrictions on Virgin Atlantic at that time because it was working in partnership with Delta Air Lines (the US company which holds 49% of the British-based firm).

They have a code-sharing agreement where Delta placed its “code” on Virgin Atlantic flights, and sold tickets as if they were Delta planes.

Virgin Atlantic posted a consent agreement on Tuesday stating that the overflights had been accidental.

Learn more about Iraq

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According to the airline, it had previously followed FAA code-sharing restrictions and that the violations were due to disruptions and staff shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

After learning about the violations, the company stated that it immediately rerouted flights.

The Press Association stated that Virgin Atlantic will waive half of the fine (or PS435,350 ($525,000) if it does not commit similar violations for a year.


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