Thousands of flights cancelled, re-routed when Pakistan closed airspace
Thousands of flights around the world were canceled or rerouted when Pakistan closed its airspace amid flaring tensions between it and nuclear rival India.
Authorities in Pakistan closed the entire country's air space after a confrontation between it and India over the contested Kashmir region, in which Pakistan says it shot down two Indian military planes.
The closure had a massive effect on the aviation industry, given Pakistan's pivotal position between Asia and the Middle East.
Thousands of flights regional flights, as well as flight to Europe and Canada, were cancelled or rerouted to avoid Pakistani airspace.
Here are some of the airlines and routes affected by the closure across Feb. 27 and 28, 2019:
- Thai Airways said on Feb. 27, 2019, that it had canceled all flights to Europe, as well as all flights to and from Pakistan. On Feb. 28, 2019, the airline said that it had resumed its flights to Europe, and that the flights would go through China instead.
- Emirates cancelled 10 flights between Dubai and a number of Pakistan's airports on Feb. 28, 2019.
- Air Canada warned of delays of flights to Bombay and New Delhi on Feb. 27 and 28, 2019, because of airspace closures "due to political activity."
- Qatar Airways said that flights to Peshawar, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Sialkot were delayed or suspended until further notice.
- Singapore Airlines said on Feb. 27, 2019, that a number of flights to Europe would be rerouted so they could stop to refuel en route to their destination.
- British Airways was forced to reroute an unspecified number of flights, Reuters reported.
As of Feb. 28, 2019, Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority's website said that most flights scheduled to arrive in all of Pakistan's airports are cancelled.
Flight tracking website Flightradar 24 shared an image of what it said was "the most extreme example yet of the circuitous routing required due to the closure of Pakistani airspace" on Feb. 28, 2019. The Uzbekistan Airways flight was from Uzbekistan to India.
Flightradar 24 also shared a map comparing airspace above Pakistan when the closure was made, versus a month before:
Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority told passengers to contact their airlines for updates on their flights to and from Pakistan.
Tension has increased between two rival nuclear powers
Pakistan's military on Feb. 27, 2019, said it had shot down two Indian aircraft that crossed into Pakistan's side of the disputed Kashmir region, while India said that it had shot down one Pakistan Air Force plane.
Pakistan has one Indian pilot in custody, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
General Vijay Kumar Singh, the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, described the pilot as "embodiment of a mentally tough, selfless courageous soldier" and called for his safe return.
"During these testing times the country stands, as one, behind him his family. Our efforts are on under the #GenevaConvention we hope that the brave pilot would return home soon," he said.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said at a press conference on Feb. 27, 2019, that the two countries "should sit down and talk." He urged "better sense to prevail."
Khan said that given the two nations' nuclear arsenals, "My question is that given the weapons we have can we afford miscalculation."
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the nation on Wednesday and said India and Pakistan should sit down and talk.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Feb. 28, 2019, that "the entire country is one and is standing with our soldiers."
He did not specifically mention Pakistan, but said "When our enemy tries to destabilize the country, when terrorists attack - one of their goals is that our progress should stop, our country should stop moving ahead," CNN reported.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.