Update: Pakistan’s airspace has reopened.
Given how global aviation is, it’s very much impacted by politics and unrest. Whether we’re talking about Qatar Airways not being able to overfly certain countries, or most countries avoiding North Korean airspace, or flights to Israel typically not being able to fly over many countries, there’s a lot to keep track of.
Well, it looks like you can add another dispute to the list. There has obviously been a lot of tension between India and Pakistan for a very long time, and today Pakistan has said that they shot down two Indian military jets, and captured two pilots.
This blog is about travel and airlines, so we won’t get too deep into that, other than to note that for the time being Pakistan has closed their airspace. The thing is, a lot of airlines use Pakistan’s airspace, including many airlines flying between Asia and Europe.
The implications of this are huge, and we’ve seen a massive number of diversions today, and these have the potential to continue.
For example, Air Canada 42 from Toronto to Delhi was over Europe, and then turned around to go back to Toronto. OMG.
Thai Airways 916 from Bangkok to London turned around about 90 minutes into the flight, so it ended up being a roughly three hour flight.
Singapore Airlines 308 from Singapore to London diverted to Dubai.
So as of now this is still developing. We’ll have to wait and see how long this lasts. My instinct is always to think “oh, I’m sure this’ll be resolved soon,” but often that’s not the case (just look at how Qatar still hasn’t resolved the issues with their neighbors).
If this sticks, this could have a huge impact on flights going forward.
Has anyone been impacted by the Pakistan airspace closure yet?