AAI introduces contingency procedure, routes to check overflying flights across Indian Peninsula

New Delhi: Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Thursday introduced contingency procedures and routes to facilitate the transit of overflying flights across the Indian Peninsula, officials said.

“A sample simulation study of expected traffic was done and various NOTAMs (Notice to airmen) were taken last night, which contained guidelines for flights and Air traffic control (ATC) for planning their flights,” AAI said.

Last night, air traffic was significantly heavy in Mumbai Flight Information Region (FIR), as all flights were entering and exiting Indian airspace over the Arabian Sea to and from Muscat FIR, due to complete closure of Pakistan airspace.

The departing flights ex-Delhi, bound for Gulf, Europe etc. have to take a detour, which entails extra flight time, depending upon the destinations.

According to AAI, all the Indian airports, including which were closed on Wednesday for a couple of hours are operating normally.

AAI is constantly in touch with the Ministry of Defence, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), airlines and airports to minimize any inconvenience to the traveling public.

Earlier in the day, all international and domestic flights operations across Pakistan stand suspended, said the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Quoting Pakistan’s aviation agency, ARY News also reported that the flight operations would remain shut until further notice.

“NOTAM is still in place & airspace over #Pakistan remains closed. Apology for an earlier tweet that indicated the partial opening of our airspace for commercial aviation. Any further information will be shared accordingly,” the CAA tweeted early on Thursday.

Airlines like Qatar Airways issued a statement on Wednesday wherein it asserted that due to the ongoing situation on the India-Pakistan border, its flights to the airports in Faisalabad, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and, Sialkot stand temporarily suspended.

On Wednesday, flight operations across eight airports in India – Amritsar, Pathankot, Srinagar, Jammu, Shimla, Dharamshala, Kullu and Leh – were shut briefly. Operations later resumed in all the airports.

Meanwhile, Air Canada has temporarily suspended its flight services to India, after Pakistan’s decision to shut its airspace.

These measures come in the wake of the Indian Air Force pilot being captured by the Pakistani army on Wednesday when the Pakistan Air Force violated the Indian air space.

Fighter jets from the Indian Air Force repulsed the morning raid launched by Pakistani F-16 fighter jets which prevented damage on Indian troop positions or infrastructure.

India has since sought the immediate and safe return of the personnel, strongly underlining that “no harm comes to the Indian defense personnel in its custody.”

On Tuesday, India launched an anti-terror strike against a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot, in which a large number of terrorists have been killed by the Indian Air Force, according to Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.

The air strike was carried out in the aftermath of the February 14 terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, which claimed the lives of over 40 CRPF personnel.

Pakistan-based JeM staked responsibility for the attacks, which have been widely condemned by the international community. There has been mounting global pressure against Pakistan to stop providing support and a safe haven to terrorists ever since.