Emirates flies five-hour flight to nowhere after aborting landing in Kabul following Taliban take-over

Flight was forced to turn back to Dubai

Helen Coffey
Monday 16 August 2021 16:14
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This Emirates flight flew for five hours to nowhere after aborting landing in Kabul
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Emirates operated a five and a half hour flight to nowhere after its regular service from Dubai to Kabul in Afghanistan aborted landing following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

Flight EK640 departed Dubai at around 7am (UTC) and flew to Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport as scheduled on 15 August.

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

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

Fight tracking website FlightRadar24 shows the flight path of the plane’s round-trip flight to nowhere.

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

President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday as Taliban entered the city, saying he wanted to “avoid bloodshed.”

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 gunfire heard and reports that at least five people have been killed.

Other airlines also decided to divert flights en-route to Afghanistan yesterday.

FlyDubai operated its early morning service from Dubai as scheduled, but the late morning flight to Kabul turned back around an hour after departure, landing at Dubai again two hours after take-off.

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