June 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order prohibiting U.S.-registered aircraft operators from flying over the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman due to increased tensions with Iran.
"The [Notice to Airmen] warns pilots that flights are not permitted in the overwater area of the Tehran Flight Information Region until further notice, due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions that might place commercial flights at risk," the FAA said in a statement Thursday. "The NOTAM applies to all U.S. air carriers and commercial operators."
Several airlines have announced that they will also be avoiding Iranian airspace, including British Airways, Qantas, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and KLM.
The warning comes a day after Iran said it shot down a U.S. surveillance drone that penetrated its airspace.
The FAA said in a separate statement that the drone was near international air routes when it was attacked with the nearest civil aircraft 45 nautical miles away.
"FAA remains concerned about the escalation of tensions and military activity within close proximity to high volume civil air routes and Iran's willingness to use long-range [surface-to-air missiles] in international airspace with little to no warning," it said. "As a result, there is concern about the potential for misidentification or miscalculation, which could result in the inadvertent targeting of civil aviation."
The FAA last month warned airmen to be cautious in the area as Iran possesses a variety of anti-aircraft weapons, some with ranges encompassing key international air routes over the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. There is also the risk aircraft in the area might be harmed due to Iran's increased use of Global Positioning System and communication jammers.