The decision to postpone the departure time concerns only flights to the capital of Iran and was made on the morning of January 11, immediately after the authorities of this country pleaded guilty in the crash of the Boeing liner of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) in Tehran, two RBC interlocutors told. The disaster occurred on January 8, a few minutes after leaving Tehran’s airport. Onboard there were 167 passengers and nine crew members, all of them died. At first, the Iranian authorities explained the crash as a technical malfunction of the liner and only three days later stated that the plane was unintentionally shot down by a rocket, since it was flying over a military facility against the background of increased combat readiness of Iranian air defense systems.
On the night of January 3, the United States launched an air strike in the vicinity of Baghdad Airport, destroying Iranian General Kassem Suleimani, who led the elite unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. In response, Iran launched rocket attacks on military facilities in Iraq, where were the US military.
“From the point of view of the algorithms for the operation of air defense (air defense) calculations, there is no difference between day and night: targets are detected using radars beyond visibility,” said Oleg Panteleev, Executive Director of AviaPort. But the United States practices bombing missiles at various targets more often at night, which creates increased psychological stress for calculations and increases the risk of error, he points out.
Most likely, the recommendations of the aviation authorities of Iran and the Russian Foreign Ministry are focused not on missile systems, but on anti-aircraft artillery systems, which are also used by the Iranian military in the airport area, said Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine. They do not have a radar and work at short range, the expert explained.
“The Iranian army is armed with several thousand anti-aircraft artillery systems, starting from the Soviet ZU-23 and the British Bofors, and ending with 57-mm Chinese installations based on old Soviet ones. They focus only on optics – they work on a video image, ”Murakhovsky said. According to him, such complexes can bring down an airplane during takeoff or landing.
After the tragedy with the Ukrainian aircraft Rosaviation issued recommendations not to use the airspace of Iran, Iraq and over the Persian and Oman gulfs, the department did not prohibit flights to Tehran. The routes of the popular flights Aeroflot, S7, Pobeda, Ural Airlines, Utair and Azur Air, including to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, pass over Iran and Iraq. Then appeared the second telegram – in it the department advised paying attention to the professionalism of the pilots, taking into account the possibility of deviation from the course, studying emergency procedures and constantly listening to the emergency frequency. The telegram indicates that measures must be taken in connection with active hostilities in the region.
Shortly after the Federal Air Transport Agency sent out recommendations, airlines announced that are developing alternative routes. The routes of Ural Airlines from Yekaterinburg, Ufa, Novosibirsk and Chelyabinsk to Dubai will follow through the territory of Afghanistan and Pakistan. From Moscow, Sochi and Krasnodar, the flight path of this carrier will become west – through Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Since January 8, Azur Air has been using similar routes. The route from Makhachkala to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) Utair is ready to carry out through Egypt and Cyprus. Aeroflot also announced the development of alternative routes, but so far, according to the portal flightradar24, does not use them.