NEW DELHI: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has said that due to the closure of Pakistani airspace, air traffic was significantly heavy over the Mumbai region on Wednesday night.
Pakistan’s civil aviation authority on Wednesday announced closure of their airspace in the wake of the escalating tensions with India. On Thursday, the neighbouring country said its airspace will remain closed for commercial flights till Thursday midnight.
“Last night, air traffic was significantly heavy in Mumbai Flight Information Region (FIR), as all flights were entering/exiting Indian airspace over Arabian Sea to/from Muscat (FIR), due to total closure of Pakistan airspace, which continues to remain closed at the time of this press release,” the AAI said in a statement.
An FIR refers to specified airspace where flight information and alerting services are provided. Generally, an FIR can be land and sea territory as well as any international airspace as defined under global norms.
The AAI said that flights from Delhi to the Gulf or European region “have to take a detour, which entails extra flight time, depending upon the destinations”.
“Consequent upon yesterday’s airspace and airports closure, Airports Authority of India introduced contingency procedures/routes to facilitate transit of overflying flights across the Indian Peninsula.
“In order to achieve that, a sample simulation study of expected traffic was done and various NOTAMs were taken last night, which contained guidelines for flights/ATC for planning their flights,” it said.
NOTAMs (notice to airmen) are issued by the AAI as directions for pilots and airlines.
“All the Indian airports, including which were closed yesterday for couple of hours, are operating normal,” the AAI added.
“Airports Authority of India is constantly in touch with the Defence Ministry, International Civil Aviation Organisation, airlines and airports, so as to minimize any inconvenience to the travelling public,” it said.
On Wednesday, the AAI had issued a NOTAM, saying flight operations at the airports in Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Pathankot, Amritsar, Shimla, Kangra, Kullu Manali and Pithoragarh will remain shut from February 27 to May 27.
Later in the day, Indian aviation watchdog DGCA said commercial operations at the nine airports had resumed. ?PTI