–Thai Airways cancels all flights to Europe; awaits permission to use other routes that don’t cross Pakistan’s airspace
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced that Pakistani airspace has been partially restored, starting with Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport, hours after the Pakistani military spokesman said that operations at all Pakistani airports have been suspended due to the prevailing security situation.
“North East & North Western airspace remains closed until further notice,” the CAA said in a tweet.
Pakistani airspace has partially restored, starting with #Jinnah International Airport of Karachi.
Following flights have departed, #WY324 KHI MCT#EK601 KHI DXB
More to follow. North East & North Western airspace remains closed until further notice.#ThankYouSherDils ??
— CAA Pakistan (@AirportPakistan) February 27, 2019
The aviation authority said more details would follow.
At the time of CAA’s announcement on closure, Pakistani airspace, according to Flight Radar 24 — a global flight tracking service — was almost entirely empty.
According to reports, three Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were given special permission to land at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport upon arrival in Pakistani airspace.
The three flights given permission to land in Karachi were — PK 756 from Riyadh to Sialkot, PK 286 from Doha to Peshawar and PK 790 from Toronto to Lahore.
As per the source, the flights from long routes did not know about Pakistani airspace being closed and were given permission to land.
Indian news reports said that airports in the Indian-occupied Kashmir have also been closed for civilian traffic.
The Press Trust of India news agency says these airports are located at Srinagar, Jammu and Leh.
Meanwhile, Thai Airways has cancelled all flights to Europe while waiting for permission to use other routes that don’t cross Pakistan’s airspace.
All of Thai Airways’ Europe-bound flights have been suspended and one flight that had already taken off earlier in the day had to turn back, Independent reported.
Hundreds of travellers are waiting at Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok following the cancellations.
The Suvarnabhumi Airport website shows that all upcoming Thai Airways European flights have been cancelled, including its next services to Paris, London Heathrow and Oslo.
“The conflict situation between Pakistan and India has affected Thai Airways flights,” said Thai Airways president Sumeth Damrongchaitham.
“Flights also had to turn back to Bangkok, including the London and Frankfurt flights. By closing the airspace, every flight from Thailand to Europe has been affected. For flights that are going to depart this evening, we will call an urgent meeting to consider the impact of such events,” he added.
The airline flies to 13 European destinations: the UK, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, France, Russia, Frankfurt and Munich in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Rome and Milan in Italy and Austria.
Qatar Airways has temporarily suspended flights to eight cities in India and Pakistan; Qatar flights that normally cross India-Pakistan airspace may be delayed due to rerouting.
Gulf Air has suspended all flights to and from Pakistan, while Emirates, Etihad and SriLankan Airlines have also cancelled some services.