The Aviation Eye

Tensions between India and Pakistan affect Commercial Air Traffic

Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated and are now affecting air traffic in the region. Pakistan has closed its airspace entirely and Indian authorities have restricted flights at more than half a dozen airports.

UPDATE: As of UTC (10:15AM, 1st March, 2019)

NOTAMs (Notice to Airmen) has been removed for Northen Indian Airports. Flights from/to Northern Indian Airports (eg. Amritsar) have resumed services. However the airspace over Pakistan remains empty with all commercial operations staying cancelled for today.

Multiple Flight Diversions & Cancellations have been caused for the flights. Notable ones include are:

  • Air Canada Flight AC42 (ACA42) from Toronto to New Delhi diverted back to Toronto after reaching Swedish Airspace.
  • United Airlines Flight UA48 (UAL48) to Mumbai (BOM) & UA82 (UAL82) to New Delhi (DEL) were diverted to Frankfurt (FRA) & London Heathrow (LHR)
  • Singapore Airlines Flight SQ308 (SIA308) from Singapore to London was diverted to Dubai-International (DXB) and Flight SQ318 (SIA318) to London & Flight SQ326 (SIA326) was diverted to Mumbai (BOM).
  • Air India Flight AI102 (AIC102) from New York (JFK) to New Delhi (DEL) & Flight AI126 (AIC126) from Chicago (ORD) to New Delhi (DEL) was diverted to Dubai-World Central Airport (DWC).
  • Thai Airways Flight TG916 from Bangkok (BKK) to London (LHR) turned back to Bangkok about 90 minutes in flight.
  • FedEx Flight FX5384 from Paris (CDG) to Delhi (DEL) turned back to Paris after entering Turkish Airspace.
  • 3 of Finland-based airline Finnair aircrafts were diverted to Dubai-World Central Airport (DWC) for refuelling.

Another Notable Flight was SpiceJet Flight SG22 from Kabul (KBL) to Delhi (DEL). Usual Flight time of this flight is roughly around 01 hour 40 minutes. But Yesterday’s Airspace Restriction caused this flight to take a long detour from Kabul covering the Iranian Airspace and overflying West Coast of India, hereby causing the flight time to cross a massive 06 hours 12 minutes duration.

Departure of flights from Karachi despite Airspace Closure:

Around 18:00 to 19:00 Local Time of Pakistan, Oman Air Flight WY324 (OMA324) to Muscat (MCT) & Emirates Flight EK601 (UAE601) to Dubai (DXB) departed from Karachi (KHI), marking one of few commercial flights departing after the Airspace Closure.

Temperory Suspension of Flights:

Kuwait Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines has announced immediate suspension of flights temporarily to Pakistan destinations until further information is provided.

Air Canada has announced suspension of flight operations to Indian destinations until further notice & Thai Airways announces temporary suspension of flights to Europe as they are awaiting for with multiple flights being cancelled to Paris, London, Munich and Oslo as they are awaiting for airspace authorisation for these flights to fly through an alternative route.

Oman Air also cancel their flights to Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

Travel Advisories Issued:

Countries like United States, Singapore, Canada, etc. have issued travel advisories because of ongoing conflict among these two Asian countries.

NOTAM Issued by ACAA – Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority:

Flights which have destination to Kabul as per flight plan are only permitted to enter Kabul Airspace. Flying over Kabul Airspace is prohibited per OAKB NOTAM:

G0440/19 – KABUL FIR NOT ACCEPTING ANY OVERFLIGHT TRAFFIC VIA ALL AIRWAYS
DUE TO PAKISTAN AIRSPACE BEING CLOSED. EXPECT AIRSPACE OPENING WHEN
PAKISTAN BEGINS ACCEPTING AIRCRAFT. AIRCRAFT LANDING IN KABUL FIR ARE
PERMITTED ENTRY. 27 FEB 08:00 2019 UNTIL 27 MAY 23:59 2019. CREATED: 27 FEB
07:48 2019

ACAA NOTAM

NOTAM given by Pakistan’s CAA & Indian DGCA:

A0200/19 (Issued for OPKR OPLR) – PAKISTAN AIRSPACE IS CLOSED. 27 FEB 07:30 2019 UNTIL 28 FEB 23:59 2019 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 27 FEB 07:32 2019

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority NOTAM

(A0209/19 NOTAMR A0207/19 Q)OPXX/QRAXX///W/000/999/ A)OPKR OPLR B)1903010840 C)1903040800 EST E)PAKISTAN AIRSPACE WILL REMAIN CLOSED FOR ALL OPERATIONS TILL 04TH MARCH 2019,TIME 0800 UTC(EST) EXCEPT THE FOLLOWING: FLIGHT OPERATIONS ONLY TO/FROM KARACHI INTERNATIONAL, PESHAWAR INTERNATIONAL, QUETTA INTERNATIONAL AND ISLAMABAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS WITH RESTRICTED ENTRY/EXIT AS FOLLOWS WILL BE AVAILABLE W.E.F 01ST MARCH’2019 TIME 1300 UTC. I) ALPOR-LAKIV-KA-BEGIM-KC II) METBI/EGRON-JI-LAKIV-KA-BEGIM-KC III) ASVIB/KEBUD-PG-DOSTI-KC IV) KC-BEGIM-MELOM-PARET-TAPDO V) KC-BEGIM-MELOM-PARET-PG-ASVIB/KEBUD VI) KC-BEGIM-MELOM-PARET-JI-EGRON/METBI VII) JI/ASVIB/DERBO-KALAT-PARLO-ZB-HANGU-OPPS AND VICE VERSA VIII) JI/ASVIB/DERBO-KALAT-PARLO-ZB-HANGU-KALMI-OPIS AND VICE VERSA IX) OPPS/OPIS-HANGU-LAJAK/DOBAT(VIA REGET)/SITAX(VIA SAJAN) AND VICE VERSA X) OPKC-PG-KALAT-PARLO-ZB-HANGU-PS DCT 3550N07210E DCT PURPA AND VICE VERSA XI) OPIS-HANGU-PS DCT 3550N07210E DCT PURPA AND VICE VERSA XII) OPKC PARET PG G325 PS DCT 3550N07210E DCT PURPA AND VICE VERSA XIII) DOMSTIC OPERATION BTN OPIS/OPPS AND OPKC WILL BE AVBL ON ROUTE OPIS/OPPS-HANGU G325 PG DOSTI KC XIV) DOMESTIC OPERATION BTN OPKC AND OPPS/OPIS WILL BE AVBL ON ROUTE KC-PARET-PG G325 HANGU-OPPS/OPIS XV) DOMESTIC OPERATION BTN OPQT AND OPKC WILL BE AVBL ON ROUTE OPQT-KALAT G325 PG DOSTI KC XVI) DOMESTIC OPERATION BTN OPKC AND OQT WILL BE AVBL ON ROUTE KC-PARET-PG G325 HANGU-KALAT-OPQT.)

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority

VIDF DELHI (FIC) A0182/19 – DUE RESTRICTIONS CONVEYED BY LAHORE ACC, LOWEST WEST BOUND FL AVBL IS F320 FOR FLIGHTS EXITING VIDP VIA SULOM/GUGAL/RABAN. 27 FEB 06:15 2019 UNTIL 27 MAY 23:59 2019 ESTIMATED.

A0181/19 – NO FLIGHTS PERMITTED TO OPERATE TO/FROM VIAR/VIPK/VISR/VIJU/VILH/VISM/VIGG/VIBR DUE OPERATIONAL REASONS. 27 FEB 05:55 2019 UNTIL 27 MAY 23:59 2019 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 27 FEB 06:38 2019

©Flightradar24, Delhi ACC (VIDF)
©Flightradar24
©Flightradar24

Current Scenario:

With the Pakistan Airspace being closed for today, all flights which were expected to pass over the airspace as per the flightplan will be rerouted or cancelled because of high fuel costs derived by longer duration of flights. All flights have been re-routed via Arabian Sea which will will involve aircrafts passing through Oman, UAE and Iranian Airspace. The corridor over Arabian Sea is currently busy and has seen its highest recently with all outward and inward traffic.

The airspace over Arabian Sea is operating in its peak, meanwhile the airspace over Pakistan remains empty due to airspace closure.
Photo Courtesy of FlightRadar24

The NOTAM issued by Pakistan’s CAA is expected to expire on Sunday at 23:59 local time, hereby leading to resumption of all commercial operations of the airspace. However airlines temporarily would avoid using this airspace due to conflicts, until all relations between both countries resume back to normal.

A few aircraft already took off from Pakistan yesterday.

Jenson Arunkumar

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