Pakistan airspace closure forces flights to be re-routed amid Kashmir crisis

The Foreign Office is warning of disruption

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 27 February 2019 13:00 GMT
Indian pilots captured after being shot down by Pakistan forces

As tension rises between Pakistan and India, all Pakistani airspace has been closed – forcing international flights to be re-routed.

The country’s Civil Aviation Authority issued a statement telling pilots: “Pakistan airspace is closed until further notice.”

The most direct routes from London to Kuala Lumpur and from Manchester to Singapore pass over northern Pakistan.

Many other flights normally overfly Pakistan, and the pressure on airspace in neighbouring countries may lead to delays and longer deviations from the ideal flightpath.

Since the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over an area of Ukraine occupied by Russia separatists, pilots and airlines have been wary of overflying conflict zones.

The closure came after an Indian air raid on an alleged terrorist hideout inside Pakistani territory. It followed an attack by a militant against an Indian army position in which more than 40 troops died.

Both India and Pakistan have claimed to have shot down military jets belonging to the other side. Pakistani authorities claimed that two pilots, who ejected safely, had been apprehended.

But the government in Delhi said the raid had been successfully completed and all pilots were accounted for.

Some Indian airports close to the Pakistan border were also closed temporarily, but have since reopened.

The Foreign Office warns: “There may be disruption to air travel in Jammu and Kashmir and northern India at short notice.”

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