Flight operations in Pakistan were partially restored on Wednesday evening, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said, after they were suspended in the wake of escalating border tensions between Pakistan and India.
Global flights that transit between Indian and Pakistani airspace have been hit by the airport shutdowns in cities near the India-Pakistan border after tension escalated between the two countries on Wednesday. The airports reopened after about four hours on the advice of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Worldwide flights exiting Indian airspace north of Mumbai are being re-routed through the Middle East, The Hindu reported.
Airports at Chandigarh, Pathankot, Halwara are Bathinda have been put on high alert. "No commercial flights are coming to Amritsar, there is no base here, so flights are not even taking off from here".
"Due to the closure of Pakistani and Afghanistan airspace, a number of Emirates flights to/from Pakistan and Afghanistan on 27 and 28 February have been cancelled, a spokesperson said". "We are following the instructions of the air force", he added.
According to reports, some flights returning to origin, while others appear to be seeking alternate routing.
Pakistan claims Indian jets launched attack across Kashmir border
It follows a suicide bombing attack on an Indian security convoy in Pulwama, in Indian-administered Kashmir, on 14 February. The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a terror outfit based in Pakistan, claimed the responsibility for the attack.
Passengers were informed pertaining the airspace closure that will also be effective on flights arriving from Saudi Arabia besides airlines operating in United Kingdom, Europe and the Middle East region, sources said. The Indian Airlines operators have been asked to suspend all flights to Pakistan.
Suspension of flight operations has also forced Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for extending stay in Dubai.
Flight operations across major airports, including in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi have been suspended. Online portal Flightradar24 said global airlines that usually transit between Indian and Pakistani airspace were forced to reroute, including flights by Singapore Airlines, Finnair, British Airways, Aeroflot, and Air India.
The airline, however, will not entertain any date change requests for flights within the period specified. However, one of the three F-16s was shot down in Nowshera's Lam Valley, three kilometres into Pakistani territory, India said.