Earlier we had reported that flights to Jammu and Kashmir have been suspended following heightened tension between India and Pakistan after India bombed Jaish‑e‑Mohammed terror camps in Pakistan yesterday. Now it seems that the entire airspace over India-Pakistan has been closed, and airlines avoiding fling to Pakistan, are as several flights on that route have returned.
According to the status of flights shown on live flight tracking website Flightradar24, several flights scheduled to fly over Indo-Pak border have either returned or diverted to avoid Pakistani airspace. The flight no CZ6037 of South China Airlines, on its way from Guangzhou in China to Lahore in Pakistan, seems to have landed in Delhi.
Similarly, Flight RQ766, a cargo plane of Geo Sky which usually flies to Afghanistan and the Middle East, has landed at Delhi after taking off earlier today. The Singapore Airlines flight SIA308 on Singapore-London route has returned from the Indo-Pak border over Rajasthan. One TUI Airways flight from Krabi in Thailand to Helsinki in Finland also has returned from that airspace.
A similar situation has been observed on the Pakistan side too. As many as four flights of Qatar Airlines – Doha-Bangkok, Doha-Hong Kong, Doha-Kathmandu and Doha-Dhaka flights – have returned from Pakistan’s western border. Similarly, Etihad’s Abu Dhabi-Kathmandu flight has also returned.
Some of these flights seem to have taken a detour instead of returning to origin airport. They have returned from Pakistan-Iran border, moved southwards and flying over the Arabian Sea, avoiding the Pakistan air space. They may directly go to the original destination or may stop at India for re-fuelling due to increased flight distance.
Shariah Varanasi flight of Air India Express has taken a similar extended route over the Arabian Sea. Interestingly, one Jeddah-Peshawar flight of Saudia has returned from inside the Pakistan airspace. A lot of Pakistan bound flights seem to have returned or cancelled, as we can hardly see any flights coming into the country as per Flightradar24, although we can see flights going out of Pakistan.
These means that Airlines are apprehensive of flying to or over Pakistan, as they anticipate an escalation of tension between India and Pakistan. Indian Air Force Planes bombed terror camps inside Pakistan, and after that, there are reports of a Pakistan Air Force F-16 jet shot down by India. Therefore, the airspace over India-Pakistan has become extremely dangerous, and it is natural that civilian airlines, both passenger and cargo, have decided not to fly over that zone.