US Fines Emirates $400K For Using Iran Airspace

Filed Under: Emirates, JetBlue

There’s an interesting technicality that has caused the US Department of Transportation to fine Emirates for using Iranian airspace.

The FAA’s June 2019 Iran airspace restriction

In June 2019, the US Federal Aviation Administration issued an Iranian airspace advisory, prohibiting US registered aircraft from operating over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.

The advisory was put into place “due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions that might place commercial flights at risk,” and it applied to all US air carriers and commercial operators.

Emirates in trouble over Iranian airspace usage

An investigation revealed that between July 1 and July 19, 2019, Emirates consistently operated in this prohibited airspace. As such there’s nothing wrong with that, because the US advisory only applied to US air carriers and commercial operators.

Emirates operated flights over Iranian airspace

The reason this became a problem is because Emirates has a codeshare agreement with JetBlue. By operating flights carrying the JetBlue code, Emirates operated in violation of the conditions of its statement of authorization.

Emirates has agreed to pay a $400,000 fine, stating that it takes regulatory compliance responsibilities extremely seriously. The airline notes that it suspended all flight operations in this area for a limited period, at a significant cost.

Then when Emirates once again used this airspace, it “inadvertently retained the JetBlue code due to an internal oversight.” Once Emirates became aware of the situation, it took immediate corrective action to remove the codeshare and cease transportation to passengers under the JetBlue code.

The airline claims to have implemented internal organizational and process-related changes to avoid an occurrence like this in the future.

While Emirates believes the inadvertent oversight shouldn’t merit enforcement action, it has agreed to the settlement in the interest of resolving the matter.

Emirates was fined for using Iranian airspace due to its JetBlue codeshare

Bottom line

The US DOT has fined Emirates $400K for using Iranian airspace in the summer of 2019. The US had issued a notice prohibiting US airlines from using this airspace. Emirates wouldn’t have had to follow this order, except for the fact that it was codesharing with JetBlue, which subjected it to this rule.

Once the situation came to light Emirates stopped codesharing with JetBlue while the notice was in effect, but the airline has still agreed to pay the $400K fine.

  1. Your link to the prior FAA notice says it only applies to US registered aircraft. Please clarify how this applies to a codeshare with a US carrier using a non-N registered aircraft. Is there another notice not posted here that says a US company can’t profit from those routes? Or is the Administration overreaching?

  2. Meanwhile people up and arms about Chinese National security law for being able to arrest foreigners for promoting violence in HK elsewhere is unacceptable? US is the biggest violators of international law and human rights.

  3. This is the US acting way outside of it’s territorial area.

    If this was a US airline then maybe, just maybe, ok but to do this because there is a Jet Blue codeshare on the flight is quite frankly ridiculous.

  4. The US, particularly under this rancid, disease infested regime masquerading as a Presidency, is out of its depth and with each passing minute, makes America look more and more ridiculous. The country is the laughing stock of the world right now.

  5. As others said, the US have no jurisdiction in the area in question, as it is, without any doubt, outside their national territory or territorial waters.

  6. @DCYukon
    The NOTAM in question:
    Playing devil’s advocate, the NOTAM “Applies to all U.S Air Carriers and Commercial Operators”, not just US registered aircraft. The legal question would be, does codesharing with JetBlue make Emirates a “US commercial operator/air carrier” for those codeshared flights? After all, it’s operating under a JetBlue flight number, among others. So the Trump administration may not be to blame for fining Emirates in this case, though they absolutely are to blame for escalating the situation to the point that the risk of an accidental civilian aircraft shootdown caused the FAA to issue the NOTAM.

  7. I highly doubt it was accidental. They knew the NOTAM and, in typical Arab mentality, pretended that it didn’t apply to them. I would venture to bet money that they did a cost analysis that said for a limited period of time, during high demand and good revenue generation, that it was cheaper to take a chance on a financial penalty and thus save on fuel rather than re-route or turn away passengers. Emirates always puts profits ahead of safety and regulations, just ask any employee (current or redundant). Shame on them. The US should punish them with revoking abilities to operate versus an insignificant $200k fine!

  8. @KLM-GC: You may never condemn the United States. We are the peacekeepers of the world and the leaders.

    You may only condemn China and it’s human rights bastardization. The United States has never committed a human rights violation.

  9. Lets cut from the hysteria for a moment. The US government’s contract carrier for travel between Washington and Dubai is Jet Blue. Jet Blue issues the ticket but you fly Emirates. This is one example. There may be other cites as well, where you are obligated to fly Emirates. It’s understandable why the government wouldn’t want to put employees potentially in harms way. Plus Emirates doesn’t want to lose the contract so it makes sense for them comply and pay the fine.

  10. Fine JetBlue, ha ha. UA and DL should push for that. JetBlue is a bigger threat to them than Emirates. United should call for JetBlue to lose 16 JFK slots, all of them awarded to UA.

  11. > Fine JetBlue, ha ha

    As funny as it is, the MOTAM applies to us carriers and it was technically a JetBlue flight. So…

  12. > Fine JetBlue, ha ha

    As funny as it is, the NOTAM applies to us carriers and it was technically a JetBlue flight. So…

  13. Isn’t QR codesharing with AA Now? And QR has to fly over Iranian space as UAE and Saudi Arabia are still blockading the country?
    Interesting how that will turn out

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