Military Spat Closes Pakistan Airspace, Snarls Traffic


India has reopened eight airports it had closed this morning following Pakistan’s F-16 fighters violating Indian airspace. Indian military fighters struck what it claims were terrorist training camps in Pakistan yesterday, an action that was in response to a militant that killed more than 40 Indian troops in disputed Kashmir on February 14. As a result, Pakistan’s civil aviation authority has said flight operations in northeastern and northwestern regions of Pakistan will remain suspended until further notice. The India-Pakistan military action also caused airspace over Afghanistan to be closed for several hours earlier today.

The Pakistan airspace closure has forced hundreds of airline flights to reroute. In fact, Europe-bound flights by Singapore Airlines now have to make refueling stops in Dubai or Mumbai before proceeding to their destinations. According to Flight Radar 24, Thai Airways has canceled its flights to Pakistan and to European destinations today due to the airspace closure, while Air Canada has temporarily suspended service to India.

Flight Service Bureau said the Pakistan Notam is currently valid until the end of tomorrow, but added the situation “depends on the politics to be played out as this unfolds.” The flight-planning company is advising pilots to “avoid Pakistan airspace (no choice right now) and consider routings over India carefully.”


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