Emirates Airline has agreed to pay a $1.5 million penalty for allegedly flying into airspace prohibited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) while carrying the code of a US airline.

A 13 June consent order published by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) says Emirates “operated a significant number” of flights that entered airspace designated by the FAA as the “Baghdad Flight Information Region”.

The FAA has for some time prohibited US airlines from entering that airspace due to security concerns.


Source: Emirates Airline

The prohibition also applies to flights operated as codeshares with US carriers.

“Between December 2021 and August 2022, Emirates operated a significant number of flights carrying the [JetBlue Airways] code between the United Arab Emirates and the United States” in the restricted Baghdad-area airspace, says the DOT’s order.

In its response to the DOT, Emirates notes that the FAA’s restriction applies only to airspace below 32,000ft. The airline had planned the flights to fly above the restricted zone but the pilots had been forced to descend into the prohibited area due to orders from air traffic controller.

Without admitting wrongdoing, Emirates has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $1.5 million to settle the allegations. It also agreed to pay another $300,000 if it violates the terms of the settlement.