Airlines change flight paths to avoid Afghan airspace

Measure follows Taliban’s takeover of the country

This Emirates flight flew for five hours to nowhere after aborting landing in Kabul

International airlines are re-routing flights to avoid airspace over Afghanistan after the Taliban staged a takeover of the country.

UK carriers British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have both said they are changing their flight paths, along with United Airlines.

Airlines are opting to fly over Pakistan and Iran instead.

The flight path between the US and India is particularly affected by the move.

Commercial airlines are also suspending flights to Kabul, the Afghan capital, following violent scenes at Hamid Karzai International Airport over the last few days.

Emirates has cancelled all flights to and from Afghanistan until further notice.

The flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates operated a five and a half hour flight to nowhere after its regular service from Dubai to Kabul in Afghanistan aborted landing on 15 August.

Flight EK640 departed Dubai at around 7am (UTC) and flew to Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport as scheduled.

Two hours and 14 minutes after take-off, the Boeing 777 aircraft started its descent from 37,000ft to 28,000ft.

It then went into an extended holding pattern, circling above the airport for around half an hour, before turning back to the UAE to land at Dubai after five hours and 34 minutes in the air.

The decision to call off the landing for the safety of passengers and crew was made following news that the Taliban had taken control of the presidential palace in Kabul and assumed control of the Afghan capital.

Meanwhile, thousands of people rushed to the airport in a desperate bid to escape the country.

Videos from the airport depicted a chaotic scene in Kabul, with audible gunfire and reports that at least five people have been killed.

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