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Emirates airline fined for flying over areas restricted to US flights

Robert Besser
17 Jun 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Transportation Department announced on June 13 that it has fined Middle Eastern airline Emirates $1.8 million for operating flights over regions restricted to U.S. airlines, while allowing JetBlue Airways to sell seats on these planes.

The penalty pertains to a significant number of flights conducted between December 2021 and August 2022 that flew over Iraq en route between the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This is not the first time Emirates has faced such penalties. In 2020, the UAE-based airline was fined $400,000 for similar violations and had agreed not to repeat them.

Emirates and JetBlue had a code-sharing agreement, allowing the New York-based carrier to sell seats on Emirates flights as if they were JetBlue's own. Under U.S. regulations, foreign airlines can operate flights sold under a U.S. airline's name or code if they comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) restrictions.

For safety reasons, the FAA had banned U.S. airlines from flying over Iraq at altitudes below 32,000 feet. Emirates stated in a consent order that its flights were planned to remain above this altitude and only flew lower when instructed by air traffic controllers.

As part of the consent order, $300,000 of the fine will be waived if Emirates adheres to U.S. restrictions for one year without further violations.

The code-sharing partnership between Emirates and JetBlue ended in October 2022, a few months before Emirates entered into a similar agreement with United Airlines.

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