Air India diverts Chicago-Delhi flight to avoid 'uncontrolled' Afghan airspace
Air India on Monday diverted its Chicago-Delhi flight toward Sharjah in the UAE to avoid Afghanistan airspace after it was declared "uncontrolled" by authorities at Kabul airport, senior officials said. The Chicago-Delhi flight will land in Sharjah for refueling purposes, they said. The flight will then leave for Delhi again while avoiding the Afghan airspace.
Vistara's Delhi-London flights have also stopped using Afghanistan airspace
Senior Air India officials said that the Afghanistan airspace has been declared "uncontrolled" by the Kabul airport on Monday and transit flights have been asked to avoid the airspace. It is not clear if Air India would be operating its Delhi-Kabul-Delhi flight on Monday. Meanwhile, Vistara's flights from Delhi to London have also stopped using the Afghanistan airspace.
Taking necessary steps to ensure everyone's safety: Vistara spokesperson
Vistara spokesperson said on Monday, "We have stopped using Afghanistan airspace and are taking an alternate route for flights to and from London Heathrow." "We're closely working with relevant authorities to monitor and assess the situation and taking necessary steps to ensure the safety of our passengers, staff, and aircraft," he added. Vistara is not going to reduce the number of its Delhi-London flights.
Taliban had reached Kabul on Sunday
The full-service carrier currently operates four weekly flights on the Delhi-London-Delhi route. The Taliban astonishingly seized city after city before reaching Kabul on Sunday afternoon and asking for a "peaceful transition" of power, which it was given. The insurgents faced little resistance in most parts of the country as Afghan forces and powerful former warlords all but surrendered.
President Ashraf Ghani has fled Afghanistan
Both President Ashraf Ghani and his deputy, Vice-President Amarullah Saleh, fled the country earlier on Sunday after the Taliban announced it was on the outskirts of the city and was negotiating a peaceful surrender with the Western-backed government.