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Hong Kong airline suspends flights over Iran amid Russian missile concerns

Cathay Pacific has suspended flights over Iran and the Caspian Sea in response to Russian missile strikes on Syria. The European Aviation Safety Agency has said the missiles could endanger flights.

Hong Kong's flagship airline began rerouting flights last Thursday after the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said Russian cruise missile strikes on Syria could pose a danger to passenger aircraft.

Russia last week launched cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea hitting targets in Syria, where Moscow has upped airstrikes to support the Assad regime.

The missiles flew over Iranian and Iraqi airspace "below flight routes used by commercial transport aeroplanes," EASA said.

The EASA issued the advisory without providing recommendations to avoid Iranian airspace.

Cathay Pacific already avoids the airspace above Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and Afghanistan.

The announcement comes as the Dutch investigators concluded Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down last year by a Russian-made BUK missile launched from eastern Ukraine. All 298 passengers died.

cw/kms (AFP, dpa)

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