Indo-Pak Tensions: Flight Operations Resume After Brief Shutdown
Flight operations resumed on Wednesday, 27 February, after a brief shutdown amid escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan.
News agency ANI reported that a notice to alert aircraft pilots of potential hazards along a flight route has also been withdrawn. It added that flight operations will resume.
With the opening of the airspace, commercial flights have resumed to Jammu, Leh, Srinagar, Amritsar, Pathankot, Dharamsala, Kullu, Manali and Shimla airports.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the media that the ministry is strictly following instructions from the air force.
Get the latest updates on the situation in J&K here.
Earlier on Wednesday, the entire airspace north of Delhi was vacated, and operations at at least seven airports were suspended after an Indian Air Force helicopter crashed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam, news agency PTI reported. The Chandigarh, Dehradun, Amritsar, Jammu, Leh and Srinagar were among the airports closed for civilian flights.
Flightradar24, a global flight tracking service, said that international flights that transit between Indian and Pakistani airspace were also affected, and that many flights had turned back or were looking for alternative routes.
Srinagar, Jammu and Leh airports were closed for civilian air traffic shortly after an IAF chopper crashed in Budgam district amid cross-Line of Control shelling between India and Pakistan, PTI said. Dehradun, Chandigarh, HImachal Pradesh and Amritsar followed soon after.
According to ANI, Pakistan Air Force jets violated Indian airspace by entering border areas of Nowshera sector in J&K’s Rajouri district, and dropped bombs on Wednesday.
"The civilian air traffic has been suspended temporarily in view of the emergency," an official of the Airport Authority of India had told PTI earlier.
While the official did not specify the nature of the emergency, it is believed the step was taken in view of the IAF aircraft crashing in Budgam, it was reported earlier.
International Airlines Cancel Flights to Pakistan
International Airlines, including SriLankan Airlines, announced that its flights scheduled for Karachi and Lahore had been cancelled. Emirates also announced that flights scheduled for Pakistan and Afghanistan had been cancelled on account of the closure of the Pakistani airspace.
A look at FlightRadar24 also showed at least four international flights that were re-routed because of these developments.
- Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to London
- Turkish Airlines flight from Krabi to Helsinki
- Finnair flight from Delhi to Helsinki
- Jet Airways from Delhi to Dubai
Airlines Confirm Closure of Operations at Multiple Airports
Earlier in the day, SpiceJet confirmed that its air operations in Srinagar, Jammu, Adampur and Amritsar had been affected. It also announced the cancellation of its flight to Kabul.
IndiGo Airlines confirmed that its flights to and from Srinagar, Jammu, Chandigarh, Amritsar, and Dehradun had been temporarily suspended.
Jet Airways said flights to and from Dehradun, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Srinagar, Jammu and Leh were cancelled. It also waived off penalties for the change in flight date and time.
The increase in tensions has also prompted security forces to be on high alert in many parts of the country.
Pakistan Suspends Flight Operations in Five Major Cities
Pakistan had halted its domestic and international flight operations from Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Islamabad airports, ANI reported. Pakistani citizens said that their flights had been delayed “indefinitely.”
(With inputs from PTI, ANI and FlightRadar24)