Due to ongoing political tensions between Pakistan and India, the Pakistani government has ordered its air space closed until 12:00 AM local time tomorrow, February 28. This closure applies to both India-registered airlines and international carriers transiting Pakistani air space.
As a result of this ban, airlines will be forced to avoid Pakistan’s airspace, potentially adding 90 to 120 minutes of additional flight time for flights to or from Delhi and Mumbai. There is no indication from the Indian government on whether they will retaliate with a similar ban on Pakistan-registered airlines flying over Indian air space.
Today, Emirates, Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Qatar Airways have temporarily suspended all flights to Pakistan. Air Canada temporarily suspended flights to India after a flight bound for Delhi was forced to return to Toronto today. Pakistan International Airlines and Air India have advised passengers to expect delays. Airports in India are also facing cancellations and delays.
Additionally, the airspace closure is affecting flights between Asia and Europe, with Thai Airways cancelling all flights to Europe today, stranding hundreds at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).
Passengers transiting airports in the region should reconfirm the status of their flights prior to setting out and expect longer times in flight than initially scheduled.