Austrian Airlines (OS, Vienna) has taken the decision to temporarily suspend its daily service from Vienna to Tehran Imam Khomeini until January 20 as a result of the ongoing unrest in the Middle East. It made the announcement on its Twitter account on January 10.

Earlier this month, Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on airbases housing US forces in Iraq in retaliation for the US killing of Qasem Soleimani, a general in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on January 3. This was followed on January 8 by the crash of a Ukraine International Airlines (PS, Kyiv Boryspil) B737-800 shortly after take-off from Tehran, killing all 167 passengers and nine crew on board. The IRGC has since admitted to accidentally downing the aircraft with a Russian-made surface-to-air missile.

In its statement, Austrian said: "Due to the latest reports and the changed assessment of the security situation for the airspace around Tehran airport, Austrian Airlines has cancelled the rotation OS871/OS 872 to Tehran until January 20."

The airline had already made the decision to alter its flight path to Tehran on January 9, as that day's service was intended to operate via Sofia. However, instead of continuing on to Iran, the aircraft, A320-200 OB-LBN (msn 0768), simply returned to the Austrian capital.

Austrian apologised for the inconvenience caused to passengers but said: "We do not compromise on security."

Its security department is continuing to evaluate the situation on-site together with Lufthansa Group Security and the national and international authorities, it added, and as soon it has more detailed information it will decide whether the flights can resume.

According to the ch-aviation schedules module, Austrian's only destination in Iran is the capital city. With the exception of cancellations on January 8 and 9, the Star Alliance carrier continues to operate as normal to Erbil in neighbouring Iraq, to which it flies on a daily basis.

Editorial Comment: The alliance allegiance of Austrian Airlines has been corrected. - 17.01.2020 - 02:24 UTC