Risk assessing Iran ops – the UIA 737 may have been shot down

By Mark Zee


Special Update Thursday 09JAN: Members, please see either your email or this post in the Members forum, for a special briefing and update.

08JAN: Iran/Iraq Information page activated with latest information.

The cause of the crash of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) AUI/PS752 on departure from Tehran is not yet determined, and given political circumstances, may not be clarified beyond reasonable doubt anytime soon.

Purely from the perspective of making a risk assessment for operations to Tehran, and Iran in general, however, we would recommend the starting assumption to be that this was a shootdown event, similar to MH17 – until there is clear evidence to the contrary.

Images seen by OPSGROUP, shown below, show obvious projectile holes in the fuselage and a wing section. Whether that projectile was an engine part, or a missile fragment is still conjecture, but in making a decision as to whether to operate to Iran, erring on the side of caution would dictate that you do not, until there is clear information as to the cause.

Obviously, there is also the wider regional risk as indicated through the US FAA Notams issued late Tuesday night. US operators are covered by these clear and specific Notams – do not operate to Iran, or Iraq, or operate in the Persian/Oman Gulf area.

Other operators are free to make their own judgement, but should note that a majority of non-US international carriers have elected to avoid both countries for the time being.

See also:

  • OPSGROUP Article: FAA Bans Flights Over Iraq And Iran Following Missile Strike On US Base
  • OPSGROUP Article: Germany publishes new concerns for Iraq overflights


Images from ISNA, Reuters; marking of projectile areas from JACDEC.


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Mark Zee

Mark Zee

Founder of OPSGROUP, and a former airline pilot, ATCO and flight dispatcher. Based in Christchurch, New Zealand. Email me at mark.zee@ops.group.


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