The US Department of Transportation (DoT) has fined Emirates for flying through Tehran’s Flight Information Region (FIR).
According to DOT, Emirates operated several flights within the FIR of Tehran between July 1 and 19, 2019. This was a problem as the flights in question were operated under a codeshare agreement with JetBlue.
According to the DOT, in response to the US NOTAM, Emirates initially suspended all flights in Iranian airspace except for the Tehran service.
However, upon resumption of flights through the airspace, the JetBlue code was inadvertently retained for such flights. As soon as the airline became aware of this error, it removed the codeshare number from flights in Iranian airspace.
An Emirates spokesperson told Simple Flying,
“We accept the order of the US Department of Transport (DOT) relating to our compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Notice-to-Airmen KICZ A0019/19, dated 21 June 2019 (NOTAM). The NOTAM does not directly apply to Emirates and other foreign air carriers, and applies only on flights where Emirates transported passengers ticketed under a US air carrier’s designator code.
“Emirates takes its regulatory compliance responsibilities extremely seriously, and we regret that due to an inadvertent oversight, we had operated a small number of flights in July 2019 which did not comply with the FAA NOTAM. When alerted to the matter, we took prompt corrective action, and have co-operated fully with the DOT during the subsequent inquiry process.”
“Emirates has a strong record of compliance with the Department’s rules and regulations. We devote significant resources and focus to maintain and continue to strengthen our robust compliance record. Indeed, as a foreign carrier with a significant amount of service to the United States, we are proud of our compliance record, which is among the best in the industry.”
While Emirates didn’t think it should be fined as the error was a mistake, it agreed to pay the $400,000 to resolve the matter. The fine is worth $400,000, but the airline could get away with only paying half. Regardless of what happens, $200,000 is due within 120 days.
However, the DOT docket notes that the remaining balance will only become due if Emirates doesn’t pay the first half or violates the same rules again.
According to the latest NOTAM (NOTAM KICZ A0016 / 20) issued on the subject, US civil aviation operations in Tehran’s FIR are banned until further notice.
While many other countries like Germany and the UK have only issued warnings about the airspace, Ukraine has also banned operations in Iranian airspace. This is in response to the crash of one of its Boeing 737 aircraft in January.
(Source – Simple Flying)