Hundreds of planes diverted by Middle East unrest

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Analysis of travel data has revealed the dramatic impact of the decision by airlines to avoid Iranian and Iraqi airspace.

More than a thousand fights a week from destinations throughout the Middle East and around the world, as well as tens of thousands of passengers on nearly 40 airlines, are affected.

According to information from analytics firm Cirium, Turkish Airlines alone flies 35 times a week to the Iranian capital of Tehran as well as 21 flights a week to Erbil and 19 flights to Baghdad in Iraq.

Qatar Airways also operates 20 weekly flights to Tehran as well as 17 to Erbil and a further three to the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Royal Jordanian operates an additional 16 weekly flights to Baghdad.

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The impact of heightened political tensions in the region extends beyond direct routes.

Airlines operating overflights, that is services travelling through Iranian and Iraqi airspace en route to other destinations, have also been forced to re-route.

This means extra fuel costs for carriers and longer flight times for passengers.

All flights from Europe to the Arabian Gulf, Middle and Far East could be affected.

Among the major airlines being forced to take longer flights are British Airways, China Airlines, Finnair, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic among many others.

Global airlines were barred from numerous areas of airspace over the Middle East last week amid rising political tension in the region.

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