By Christian Moess Laursen and Pierre Bertrand

Lufthansa suspended flights to and from Tehran due to heightened security risks in the Middle East after U.S. officials said that an attack on Israeli assets by Iran or its proxies could be imminent.

The German airline said Thursday that it had decided to halt flights to and from the Iranian capital through Saturday, effectively extending a suspension of flights it announced last week that was meant to last until April 11.

The decision only affects Lufthansa for now, according to a spokesperson from parent company Deutsche Lufthansa. The German carrier group also owns Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings.

Lufthansa is constantly monitoring the situation in the region and keeps in close contact with authorities, the spokesperson said. "The security and safety of our guests and crew members have top priority for Lufthansa."

Austrian Airlines is still flying to the Iranian capital, but the company suspended overnight stays for its crews until Saturday as a precautionary measure, a spokeswoman for the Austrian flagship carrier said, who added that it was possible for the airline to operate the Vienna-Tehran-Vienna route without leaving its aircraft in Iran overnight while complying with their crews' legally permitted working hours.

"The Austrian Airlines flight to Tehran scheduled for today will take place, but will depart from Vienna several hours late in order to minimize the time between landing and departure in Tehran," the spokeswoman said.

Austrian Airlines crews spend 50 minutes on the ground at Imam Khomeini International Airport before departing again, she said, adding the company is monitoring the situation and would adapt its flights if necessary.

Austrian Airlines is among a rare few carriers operating flights between Europe and Iran. It flies there six times a week.

Turkish Airlines also flies directly to the Middle Eastern country. However, Air France-KLM and International Consolidated Airlines Group, which includes British Airways, don't serve the route.

Turkish Airlines didn't reply to a request for comment.

Lufthansa's decision comes a day after U.S. officials said Iran or its proxies in the region could mount an attack against Israel in retaliation for a strike on an Iranian diplomatic building in Syrian capital Damascus last week that killed top Iranian military officials.

Syria and Iran accused Israel of carrying out the attack and Tehran has publicly threatened to retaliate.

Lufthansa normally operates daily flights to Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport from its hub in Frankfurt five times a week.

Write to Christian Moess Laursen at and Pierre Bertrand at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-11-24 1042ET