Amid tension over India's air strike on terrorist hideouts in its territory, Pakistan on Friday extended the closure of its airspace until March 4 with operations allowed at few international airports under restricted airspace. In a fresh NOTM (Notice to Airmen), Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said, "Flight operations only to/from Karachi international, Peshawar international, Quetta international and Islamabad international airports with restricted entry/exit as follows will be available."
Earlier on February 27, a day after Indian Air Force's strike on JeM terrorists inside its territory, Pakistan had closed its airspace for commercial flights and indefinitely suspended flight operations at many of its major airports.
The closure of Pakistan’s airspace in response to escalating tensions with India disrupted major routes between Europe and South East Asia and left thousands of air travellers worldwide stranded.
Various airlines such as Air India, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines Wednesday announced they were rerouting their flights as Pakistan closed its airspace.
Thai Airways has cancelled nearly 30 flights, affecting 5,000 passengers. “All THAI flights from Bangkok to Europe departing near midnight of 27 FEB through early 28 FEB and from Europe to Bangkok departing on 27 FEB have been cancelled due to Pakistan airspace closure,” the airline wrote on its Twitter page.
The decision affected its services to London, Munich, Paris, Brussels, Milan, Vienna, Stockholm, Zurich, Copenhagen and Oslo. Singapore Airlines’ was forced to direct flights to Europe to re-fuel, while a flight to Frankfurt was cancelled.
Emirates also cancelled 10 return flights to Pakistan while Qatar Airways pulled flights to Peshawar, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Multan. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has said that due to the closure of Pakistani airspace, air traffic was significantly heavy over the Mumbai region on Wednesday night.
(With Inputs from agencies)