Air Canada Rerouting Mideast Flights

63 Canadians aboard a Ukrainian International Airlines Flight that crashed overnight near Tehran Image credit: CNN

By: Laura Steiner

Air Canada has announced it is rerouting its flights in the Middle East.  The decision comes following a Ukrainian Airlines flight crashed leaving Tehran, Iran last night.

The plane carrying 176 passengers crashed shortly after leaving the Imam Kohmeini airport.  According to media reports, Iranian officials suspect mechanical error. The plane was part of a route between Toronto and Tehran via Kiev Ukraine.  Transport Canada is monitoring the situation.

Canadian Leaders extend Condolences

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement extending condolences to those who have lost family, friends, and loved ones in this tragedy.  Our government will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that this crash is thoroughly investigated, and that Canadians’ questions are answered,” he said.  Foreign Affairs Minister F.P. Champagne has been working with international partners.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford added his condolences.  “Our government and all citizens stand with the Iranian community here in Ontario and across Canada in this time of grief.  An estimated 63 Canadians were aboard including 27 from Alberta.  

The flight’s black boxes have been recovered.   “Friends and relatives of Canadian citizens believed to be on board can contact Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling 613-996-8885 or 1-800-387-3124, or by sending an email to: sos@international.gc.ca”.

Canadians in Iran who require consular assistance should contact the Canadian Embassy in Ankara at 90+ (312) 409-2700.  There is a travel advisory telling Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to Iran due to the security situation.

Iranian General Qasim Soleimani was killed in a drone strike late last week.  The Iranians responded by launching ballistic missiles on American military targets in Iraq.    General Jonathan Vance, Chief of Defense staff tweeted confirming Canadians’ safety: “I can assure you that all deployed CAF personnel are safe,” he said. Canada has over 800 military personnel in the area as part of a NATO mission Operation Impact.

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