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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 March 2019

UAE airlines suspend flights to Pakistan amid military escalation

Airports across India and Pakistan have shut and flights from across the world have been diverted or cancelled

UPDATE: UAE flights suspended for a second day

UAE airlines have suspended flights to Pakistan after the country closed its airspace in response to two Indian jets being shot down in Kashmir.

The General Civil Aviation Authority issued a statement on Wednesday saying all national carriers would have their flights to Pakistan halted until further notice as a result of escalating tension in the Islamic Republic.

"The GCAA will monitor the situation in Pakistan and take an appropriate decision regarding any developments to ensure the safety of passengers and national carriers," the statement read.

The departures board on the website of Abu Dhabi International Airport prompts travellers to Lahore and Islamabad to await information. Courtesy Abu Dhabi International Airport
The departures board on the website of Abu Dhabi International Airport prompts travellers to Lahore and Islamabad to await information. Courtesy Abu Dhabi International Airport

Etihad cancelled a string of flights on Wednesday and Thursday, including both the outbound and return legs of flights from Abu Dhabi to Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.

Guests on the EY290 Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu flight, which was forced to return due to the closure of the airspace on Wednesday, will board an upgraded service to Kathmandu at 10am on Thursday.

Etihad said its guest control team was actively working to support affected passengers.

“The safety and security of our guests will always be our number one priority at Etihad Airways, and we continue to monitor the situation,” said the spokesperson.

“For further information, please call the Etihad Airways Contact Centre on +971 (0) 2599 0000. Guests can also check the status of their flight on our website at Etihad.com, or through our mobile app.”

Pakistan closed its airspace to flights on Wednesday after the country’s military shot down two Indian military aircraft, reportedly on its side of the disputed Kashmir territory.

In a tweet, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority said the airspace would be closed until further notice.

Dubai Airports also issued a statement saying flights between the emirate and Pakistan had been postponed.

"Dubai Airports is working closely with airlines, control authorities and air traffic controllers to minimise operational impact and customer inconvenience," the statement read.

Emirates cancelled its flights to Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday and Thursday.

A spokesman advised passengers due to travel to check flight schedules on the airline's website and to contact Emirates reservations or their booking agent to make alternative arrangements.

"We continue to monitor the situation closely and will update our customers as the situation develops,” the spokesman said.

A spokesperson for FlyDubai said the airline was also reviewing its schedule in light of the announcement.

“Following the closure of the airspace in Pakistan, FlyDubai has advised passengers to check the flight status on flydubai.com,” said the spokesman.

Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air also suspended all flights to and from Pakistan.

"On 27 February, flights to/from Lahore, Multan and Islamabad are cancelled and all passengers will be transferred to next available flights when the airspace is open again," the airline said in a statement.

Updated: February 28, 2019 12:03 PM

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