Due to the cross-border tensions, Pakistan airspace and parts of Indian airspace remained closed Thursday morning local time as the country’s increasingly fraught tensions with India disrupted thousands of flights worldwide for the second straight day. All international and domestic commercial flights in and out of Pakistan were canceled “until further notice,” Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority. Thousands of people were also stranded by affected airlines that not only land in Pakistan, but fly over its airspace — one of the major routes from Southeast Asia into Europe.
Thai Airways announced that all its European routes “departing near midnight of 27 FEB through early 28 FEB” were canceled “due to sudden closure of Pakistani airspace as a result of tension between India and Pakistan.” As of Thursday, there will be no Thai Airways flights between Bangkok and London, Munich, Paris, Brussels, Milan, Vienna, Stockholm, Zurich, Copenhagen and Oslo, the airline said in a statement. It was also awaiting airspace authorization to operate flights on an alternative route that does not pass Pakistan.
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. More info, http://bit.ly/2EAKYfN . Other airlines diverted or re-routed their flights and some had to make stops to take on extra fuel to complete extended journeys that avoided Pakistan airspace. Singapore Airlines announced that some of its flights from Singapore to London would have to stop in either Dubai or Mumbai to refuel.
However, there is news that the flights will resume after 12 am on Friday according to local sources
Pakistan Airspace Prior To The Shut Down and After
A number of Indian airlines announced the suspension of flights to several Indian airports on Wednesday, though services later resumed.
Aviation analyst Geoffrey Thomas said the route disruption was likely to cost airlines millions of dollars.
“It’s major corridor and this is a serious disruption as all traffic has been pushed much further south over the top of the Arabian gulf,” Thomas said. “You can’t go further north as you are then flying over the Himalayas — and you can’t do that. You’re locked into this corridor.”
Rising border crisis
Tensions between India and Pakistan — which have been heating up since mid-February — spiked even further Wednesday when Pakistan claimed its air force shot down two Indian jets over the disputed border region of Kashmir. The confrontation came a day after India said it launched airstrikes in Pakistan territory in the first such incursion by Indian air force planes since the India-Pakistan war of 1971. India confirmed the loss of one plane in the Wednesday incident and said it shot down a Pakistani jet as it responded. Pakistan claimed to have captured an Indian pilot, with India demanding his safe return.