So it seems like a lot has happened in South Asia over the last couple of days which has interrupted flight operations and consequently daily life. India and Pakistan have started a bit of an air war over recent incidents at the LOC in Kashmir. Rather than go through those sequence of these events here they are:
- Bomb kills 40 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir
- India strikes terrorist training camp in Pakistan
- Pakistan says it shot down two Indian jets
- Captured IAF Pilot and adherence to the Geneva Convention
- India closes airports in Northern India (Shimla, Amritsar and more)
- Pakistan closes its airspace
To top it off yesterday Pakistan decided to close its airspace to all civilian flights. This seems to have caught airlines completely off guard with many flights being turned right back around to their origin or diverted midway to European cities midway. This United flight decided to head to London-Heathrow while it was over Finland when it heard the news:
An Air Canada flight flying nonstop from Toronto to New Delhi even turned right back around to Canada while over Europe. While that was a smart move on the part of Air Canada, the passengers were surely disappointed that they got on a flight just to go one day into the future. Lucky at One Mile at a Time has a fun list of all those disruptions. And you can also check them all out on FlightAware.
As of right now parts of Pakistani Airspace seem to be opening up and if you look at inbound and outbound flights to New Delhi (India’s busiest airport) on FlightAware, you will see a couple of flights approaching from the West.
This is most certainly a developing situation and could lead to some impact on travel to and from South Asia in the near future. The next couple of days and the response by the United Nations will tell us if this will be a problem going forward. With the globalization of the world economy, I don’t expect issues like this to last long given that economic welfare in general is too good to give up at the moment for any country.
Ultra long haul flights are the ones that will be affected the most since they may have issues refueling along the way to India and don’t have the option of taking an even longer route. I mean I’m not sure anyone would want to make an emergency landing in some of the countries neighboring India. Air Canada has already suspended operations to India until the situation cools down.