Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Travel Time and Fuel Cost Increases as Airlines to and from India Avoid Afghanistan Airspace

Owing to recent developments, the Kabul FIR (Afghanistan airspace) which serves major traffic flows between Europe and Asia, is now without provision of a civilian Air Traffic Service. Airlines have advised IATA that they are avoiding the airspace. While traffic through Afghan airspace was anyways lower than usual because of the reduced demand due to COVID-19, many west-bound flights originating from India were using the airspace.

As per IATA, states near Afghanistan have indicated they can accommodate additional traffic. The use of alternative routes through these states will support safe and secure operations, but will have time, operational and fuel impacts upon airlines.

Almost all major airlines are rerouting flights to avoid Afghanistan airspace after insurgents took control of the presidential palace in Kabul as U.S.-led forces departed and nations scrambled to evacuate their citizens.United Airlines, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic said they were not using the country's airspace.

A United spokeswoman said the change affects several of the airline's U.S.-to-India flights. Airlines and governments have paid more attention to the risks of flying over conflict zones in recent years after two deadly incidents involving surface-to-air missiles.

17/08/21 News18.com

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