The FAA has issued a warning for carriers to avoid flying over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, citing an increasing risk to civil aviation operations because of the potential for “miscalculation or mis-identification” of aircraft by armed forces in the region.

In a May 16 Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), the FAA also said aircraft operating in the region risk encountering inadvertent GPS interference and other communications jamming, which could occur “with little to no warning.”

The NOTAM applies to all US carriers and commercial operators. It also applies to pilots with FAA-issued airman certificates and operators of US-registered aircraft, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign carrier.

The order does not ban operations above the Persian Gulf and Oman Gulf, but rather urges increased caution because of the recent flare-up in tensions between the US and Iran. Potentially affected overwater airspace includes portions of the Baghdad flight information region (FIR), Bahrain FIR, Emirates FIR, Jeddah FIR, Kuwait FIR, Muscat FIR and Tehran FIR.

The US State Department also updated its regional travel advisories to reflect the heightened tension and potential risk, urging travelers to “exercise normal precautions” in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates; “exercise increased caution” in Saudi Arabia; and avoid traveling to Iraq altogether.

Ben Goldstein,