Thursday, February 24, 2022

Ukraine closes airspace for civilian flights; AI evacuation flight on its way

As Russia announces military action into Ukraine, the country today shut its airspace for all civilian flights.

“ …Restricted due to potential hazard for civil aviation,” read a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued by Ukrainian authorities.

Civilians flights are banned when a country wants to keep its airspace free from any aircraft so that it could detect any attempts of an air attack by a unfriendly country.

Back in 2019, Pakistan had also shut its airspace completely for civilian flights after a surgical strike by India on terror hideouts in that country. Pakistan had responded and that led to an Indian pilot being captured in Pakistan - he was later released.

Despite the NOTAM, Tata-Group owned Air India is operating a special flight to bring back Indian nationals, mainly students, from the country.

“The flight is on its way,” said an executive, who did not want to be identified.

This will be the second evacuation flight by Air India - the first one brought back about 254 Indians from the country.

According to an earlier plan by Air India, the airline was to operate third evacuation flight on Saturday but that may not happen now.

Official sources also said that other airlines too were to operate flights to bring back Indian nationals.

“Other airlines were also to operate flights to evacuate Indian nationals…,” said another source.

Now, any more evacuation flights will depend on the conditions in that country.

24/02/22 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

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