Virgin Atlantic fined £870,000 for ‘inadvertent’ flights over Iraq airspace, flouting US-imposed ban | Business News

Virgin Atlantic has said it broke a US ban on flying over Iraq after it was mistakenly fined more than £870,000 by US authorities.

gave US The transport department was targeted. Airline with fines of $1.05m (£870,700) after finding a “significant number” of carrier flights between the UK and India crossing restricted airspace in Iraq between September 2020 and September 2021.

At the time, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned US airline flights at any altitude because of “increased militia activity and heightened tensions.” Iraq

The US federal agency still prohibits civilian aircraft below 32,000 feet.

The department said Virgin Atlantic was subject to FAA restrictions at the time because it was operating in partnership with Delta Air Lines, which owns 49 percent of the British carrier.

The companies have a so-called code-sharing agreement in which Delta puts its “code” on some Virgin Atlantic flights and sells the seats as if they were Delta flights.

In a consent agreement posted Tuesday, Virgin Atlantic said the overflights were inadvertent.

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The airline said it had followed FAA restrictions on code-sharing flights in the past and the violations were due to disruptions and staff shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said it immediately diverted the flights after learning of the violations.

Half of the fine, or £435,350 ($525,000), will be waived if Virgin Atlantic refrains from similar abuses for a year, the Press Association said.

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