Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Afghan airspace closure: ICAO forms contingency team to minimise potential risks to aviation

New Delhi: United Nation’s aviation arm, International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), says it has formed a contingency team to deal with the Afghanistan situation.

“As a platform for cooperation among state regulators and other aviation stakeholders, ICAO has established a ‘contingency coordination team’ (CCT) to assist with operational coordination, principally to permit the avoidance of Afghanistan’s airspace and potential safety risks,” ICAO secretary-general’s communication officer, William Raillant-Clark, told TOI Tuesday.

All commercial airlines are now steering clear of Afghan airspace. United, the only airline apart from Air India with nonstops between India and the US, says its India routes are the only ones impacted by Afghan airspace closure.

“Due to the dynamic nature of the situation we have begun routing affected flights around Afghanistan airspace. We will continue to work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration and International Air Transport Association (IATA) to evaluate the situation and determine how we continue service to markets impacted. The routings for our India flights are the only ones impacted,” United spokesperson Gudrun Gorner told TOI.

“The airlines of Lufthansa Group are accordingly using alternative flight routes…. Flight time to Indian destinations can be extended by up to one hour…. The current situation will not have any immediate impact on the airfares of our flights to and from Indian destinations,” a Lufthansa spokesperson said.

IATA on Monday said Afghanistan — whose airspace serves major traffic flows between Europe and Asia — is “now without provision of a civilian air traffic service.”

17/08/21 Times of India

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