Airlines are rerouting flights to avoid flying over Afghanistan


After insurgents took control of the presidential palace in Kabul as US-led forces departed and Western nations hurried to evacuate their citizens on Monday (Aug 16), major airlines are rerouting flights to avoid Afghan airspace.
United Airlines, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic have all stated that they will not fly through the nation. The change, according to a United representative, impacts numerous of the airline’s US-to-India flights. At 0300 GMT on Monday, the flight-tracking website FlightRadar24 showed few commercial aircraft over Afghanistan, but many planes overflying Pakistan and Iran.
Following two deadly surface-to-air missile accidents in recent years, airlines and governments have paid closer attention to the risks of flying over conflict zones.
In 2014, a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people. Last year, Iran’s military shot down a Ukraine International Airlines jet, killing all 176 passengers and crew.
LAST MONTH, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed new flight restrictions over Afghanistan for US airlines and other US operators.
The FAA said flights operating below 26,000 feet were prohibited in the Kabul Flight Information Region, which primarily covers Afghanistan, unless operating in and out of Hamid Karzai International Airport, citing the risk “posed by extremist/militant activity.”
The prohibitions do not apply to military actions conducted by the United States. According to the website Safe Airspace, which tracks such warnings, other countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France had also recommended airlines to maintain an altitude of at least 25,000ft over Afghanistan. The instability on the ground has also hampered commercial flights scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan.


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