Delta doesn't fly over the Middle East. Here's why

CEO Ed Bastian says 'it's the smart thing to do'

In the midst of the Federal Aviation Administration banning U.S. airlines from flying over portions of the Middle East, specifically Iraq and Iran, after the Iran missile attack in Iraq, FOX Business' Liz Claman spoke to Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian at the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday.

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Bastian said Delta didn't have to respond to this ban because the airline doesn't fly over that region.

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"We actually don't fly over Iran, Iraq, Syria, anytime," Bastian said on "The Claman Countdown." "We constantly make certain that we stay clear of any potential conflicts, not when they actually start to arise, but actually in advance of that."

He gave the example of Delta resuming flights to India in December 2019.

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"We fly over the Middle East airspace, but we go so far north that we avoid coming through any of that territory," Bastian said. "It actually adds about an extra hour onto the flight time, but we think, in the interest of safety of our crew and our passengers and our aircraft, it's the smart thing to do."

Outside of Tel Aviv, Israel, Bastian said Delta avoids the Middle Eastern "hot spots."

Protesters stage a sit-in near Tahrir Square, in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

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Delta isn't alone when it comes to flying to the Middle East. According to SkyScanner, here are the airlines that fly to those countries:

  • Iran - there are no U.S. airlines that fly directly there, but the biggest airlines that fly there are Emirates, Turkish and Qatar There are other regional airlines that go there such as China Southern, Ukraine International, Kuwait Airways and Azerbaijan Airlines
  • There are other regional airlines that go there such as China Southern, Ukraine International, Kuwait Airways and Azerbaijan Airlines
  • Iraq - there are no U.S. airlines that fly directly there, but the biggest airlines that fly there are Emirates, Qatar and Turkish There are other regional airlines that go there such as EgyptAir, Azerbaijan Airlines, Royal Jordanian and Kuwait Airways
  • There are other regional airlines that go there such as EgyptAir, Azerbaijan Airlines, Royal Jordanian and Kuwait Airways
  • Israel – you can fly direct from the U.S. on United, Delta and El AL Israel Airlines, and those are the biggest airlines that fly there
  • Jordan – you can fly direct from the U.S. on Royal Jordanian, and the biggest airlines that fly there are Royal Jordanian, American Airlines and Emirates
  • Kuwait – you can fly direct from the U.S. on Kuwait Airways, and the biggest airlines that fly there are Kuwait, Emirates and Qatar
  • Lebanon - there are no U.S. airlines that fly directly there, but the biggest airlines that fly there are Air France, Emirates and Qatar There are other regional airlines that go there such as Etihad Airways, EgyptAir, Royal AirMaroc, Royal Jordanian, Saudia, AirSerbia and Ethiopian Airlines
  • There are other regional airlines that go there such as Etihad Airways, EgyptAir, Royal AirMaroc, Royal Jordanian, Saudia, AirSerbia and Ethiopian Airlines
  • Qatar – you can fly direct from the U.S. on Kuwait Airways, and the biggest airlines that fly there are Qatar, British Airways and Cathay Pacific 
  • Saudi Arabia – you can fly direct from the U.S. on Saudia, and the biggest airlines that fly there are Saudia, Emirates and Turkish Airlines
  • Syria - there are no commercial airlines flying directly there
  • Turkey – you can fly direct from the U.S. on Turkish Airlines
  • United Arab Emirates – you can fly direct from the U.S. on Emirates or Etihad Airways, and the biggest airlines that fly there are Emirates, Etihad Airways and JetBlue
  • Yemen - there are no commercial airlines flying directly there

On FOX Business' "The Claman Countdown" on Thursday, Claman will interview U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as well as Micron CEO and president Sanjay Mehrotra.

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