SRINAGAR: As Pakistan kept its airspace closed for the second consecutive day on Thursday, thousands of passengers on international routes were left stranded, especially in Thailand, Malaysia, and the Middle East.
Airlines including Thai Airways and Emirates cancelled several international flights on Thursday. In Pakistan, all international flights stayed cancelled. Singapore Airlines and British Airways were among the airlines that had to reroute flights. Singapore Airlines said longer flight routes would make refuelling necessary.
Malaysia Airlines on its website stated that their flights would avoid Pakistan and the northern Indian airspace for flights to and from Europe until further notice.
“Due to airspace and airport closures in Pakistan, Abu Dhabi Airport confirms that all flights from Abu Dhabi International Airport and Al Ain International Airport, on all operating airlines to Pakistan, are cancelled until further notice,” Abu Dhabi Airport tweeted.
The cancellations, as per reports, left passengers scheduled to leave Thailand’s main Suvarnabhumi International Airport searching to find alternative flights early on Thursday. Most of Thai’s European flights leave after midnight.
“Last night there were about 5,000 passengers who came to check-in but were unable to fly, mostly on Thai Airways,” Colonel Umnart Chomshai, superintendent of tourism police at Suvarnabhumi Airport, told an international news agency.
The Pakistani airspace will remain closed till Thursday midnight, the Pakistan government has said.
The airspace closure has come after Indian and Pakistani fighter aircraft entered each other’s air space to show their might. India also briefly closed its airspace on Wednesday but later resumed flight operations.
The hostilities between the two nuclear-armed nations began after a Kashmiri militant blew himself up in an explosives laden car that killed nearly 50 CRPF troops in Kashmir on February 14.