BREAKING: Pakistan Shuts Down Its Airspace
The tensions are quite high in the border between India and Pakistan, especially in the region of Kashmir. So much so, that Pakistan shut down commercial airspace above Pakistan.
The violence recently escalated when on February 14th, 2019, a suicide bomber attacked a security convoy in Pulwama. The attack resulted in 40 Indian soldiers killed, with many more wounded. Pulwama is a town in the northern part of Kashmir, a contested territory between India and Pakistan.
Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Pakistani government has denied any involvement in the fatal attacks.
Tensions escalated even more on Tuesday. A few Indian Air Force fighter jets crossed the border into Pakistan and attacked ground targets, namely targeting militants responsible for the February 14th attacks.
Contradictory reports have followed the attack.
Nevertheless, Pakistan claimed that they forced the IAF jets to turn back without attacking any targets.
On the other hand, the Indian government said the airstrike killed “large numbers of militants.”
Everything went down yesterday, on February 26th. Today, on the 27th, more Indian fighter jets crossed the border to attack militant targets.
Unfortunately, they were shot down. At least two of them, according to reports from the Pakistani government.
Commercial airspace restrictions
One fighter jet landed in India, while the other landed in Pakistani territory. A Pakistani spokesperson has said that soldiers have captured two Indian pilots. Though India has come out and said that it has lost no pilots today.
Following the escalated violence, commercial aviation has suffered. India has closed down airports in the North until further notice. The closed airports currently are Amritsar, Srinagar, Jammu, Pathankot and Leh.
Meanwhile, Pakistan completely closed off the airspace for commercial aviation until further notice. Some reports have indicated that the airspace is closed until February 28th, 23:59 local time. Pakistan has essentially issued a NOTAM – A Notice to Airmen. Its main purpose is to alert pilots that the airspace is potentially dangerous and nobody can guarantee safe passage for any aircraft.
Airspace over Pakistan as of February 27th, 2019. Source: Flightradar24
Due to the airspace closure, flights incoming and outgoing out of India are largely affected. Some intercontinental flights might have to stop for fuel, as they do not have enough range to fly around Pakistan.
You can follow the airspace above the South Asia region right here.