Yesterday was not a good day to travel to India or Pakistan and today isn’t looking much better. Gearing up for possible war, Pakistan has closed its airspace to commercial air traffic. That caught many airlines off guard.
Last night, United 48 took off from Newark, bound for Mumbai. As the plane approached Moscow, the captain came on the let passengers know the flight was turning around to Frankfurt. That flight will continue to Mumbai tomorrow morning.
United 82 took off from Newark with a flight plan to Delhi that crossed Pakistani airspace. When informed Pakistani airspace was closed, the flight diverted to London Heathrow. The onward connection was cancelled, through passengers were likely rebooked on Air India.
Meanwhile, Air Canada 42 (Toronto to Delhi) turned around halfway over to Europe back to Toronto! Talk about a long flight to nowhere…
One Mile at a Time notes many other diversions.
What is Going On?
Put simply, here is what is going on in India and Pakistan:
- A terrorist attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed 40 Indian troops on February 14th.
- The Indian government has accused Pakistan of being complicit in the attack.
- The Indian government claimed to target a training base for the Pakistani terrorist group who claimed responsibility for the attacks earlier this week.
- Pakistan objected to India’s unannounced move and launched a tit-for-tat attack on two Indian military jets that crossed into Pakistani airspace; one pilot was captured.
Tensions are raw, even as Pakistani and Indian leaders have publicly stated they are seeking a peaceful resolution.
While flights to India and over that region can avoid Pakistan, the Islamic Republic’s central location makes this far more time-consuming.
Now we will wait and see whether this conflict deescalates or escalates. In the meantime, be prepared for delays if you are traveling to India or Pakistan.