Air India cancelled its Delhi-Kabul-Delhi flight that was scheduled to operate on Monday to avoid Afghanistan airspace after it was declared "uncontrolled" by authorities at the Kabul airport, senior officials said.
It was the only commercial flight scheduled to operate between India and Afghanistan on Monday. Air India is the only carrier that has been operating flights between the two countries. Meanwhile, Vistara also declared that its flights from Delhi to London have stopped using Afghanistan airspace.
Air India also diverted its two flights coming to Delhi from the US toward Sharjah in the UAE for the same reason. The airline's San Francisco-Delhi flight as well as Chicago-Delhi flight were diverted towards Sharjah. Both the flights will land in Sharjah for refuelling purposes and then leave for Delhi again while avoiding the Afghan airspace, officials said.
Terra Avia's flight from Baku in Azerbaijan to Delhi in India also entered the Afghanistan airspace on Monday morning but then quickly turned around and decided to avoid it by flying around it.
Vistara spokesperson said, "We have stopped using Afghanistan airspace and are taking an alternate route for our flights to and from London Heathrow." "We are closely working with the relevant authorities to monitor and assess the situation and taking necessary steps to ensure the safety of our passengers, staff and aircraft," the spokesperson added. Vistara is not going to reduce the number of its Delhi-London flights. The full-service carrier currently operates four weekly flights on Delhi-London-Delhi route.
Meanwhile, as countries raced to evacuate their respective citizens from Afghanistan, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Monday took to Twitter and urged the Centre to arrange evacuation of all Indians including 200 Sikhs who were stuck in a gurdwara in Afghanistan, and said his government was willing to extend any help needed for the same.
Urge @DrSJaishankar, MEA, GoI, to arrange for immediate evacuation of all Indians, including around 200 Sikhs, stuck in a Gurudwara in Afghanistan after the #Taliban takeover. My govt is willing to extend any help needed to ensure their safe evacuation. @MEAIndia
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) August 16, 2021
On Saturday, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, an apex gurdwara body, had urged the Union government to ensure the safety of Sikhs living in Afghanistan and make unconditional arrangements to bring those Sikhs who want to come to India.
(With inputs from PTI)