Sunday, August 15, 2021

Air India flight hovers for an hour over Kabul for ATC nod before landing in besieged city

New Delhi: An Air India flight from Delhi hovered over the Kabul airport for about an hour on Sunday waiting for the air traffic control permission before it could finally land with 40 passengers on board, while the corresponding return flight left the Afghanistan capital hours later with 129 passengers as Taliban fighters closed in on the city, officials said.

According to officials of Air India, there is no plan yet to cancel the Delhi-Kabul-Delhi flight and that it is scheduled to operate on Monday too.

However, they said, the airline is monitoring the situation closely and it will take appropriate action as and when required.

Currently, only Air India is operating flights between India and Afghanistan.

The national carrier operated it Delhi-Kabul leg of the flight (with call sign AI-243) on Sunday afternoon with around 40 passengers, officials said.

Officials said AI-243 departed from Delhi at around 12.45 PM (Indian Standard Time) and had to hover for around one hour above the Kabul airport as it did not get permission to land from the air traffic control (ATC). They stated it was not clear what was the reason for the delay in the permission for landing of AI-243.

Therefore, the flight time for AI-243 on Sunday was around two hours and fifty minutes instead of usual one hour and forty minutes.

15/08/21 PTI/Print

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