If you are planning to travel for the first long weekend of 2018, be aware! Your plans could be thrown away by the Indian Air Force and the Republic Day 2018 celebrations which are going to happen next weekend. This affects you if you are flying to Delhi, from Delhi or transiting Delhi over the next couple of weeks.
The Delhi Airport has informed airlines that the airspace over Delhi will be closed for an hour and 45 minutes every day between January 18 and 26 between the period 10:30 AM and 12:15 PM. There will be two days which will be an exception to this, January 19 and January 25. On these days, the full schedule will operate for the airlines. There can be a 30-minute buffer on either side of the embargo.
Airspace closure on the occasion of the Republic Day happens every year at Delhi, and this year is no different. This airspace closure is to allow the Indian Air Force to take over the airspace, and prepare for the event, which includes preparing for a flypast.
However, instead of flight rescheduling this year, airlines have been asked to cancel their flights during these timings. That would mean 100 flights every day would be impacted, approximately.
Luckily for international travellers, their flights are not going to be cancelled but only rescheduled. The 100 flights that go into the cancellation bucket will be all domestic flights.
If you are already booked on one of these flights which were supposed to arrive or depart from Delhi during these times, do not worry. You should have already heard from your carrier about how you will be accommodated on another flight. If the option given to you is not to your liking, you can choose to cancel or reschedule for another flight.
Vistara has notified the list of affected flights here. For IndiGo, you can do the rescheduling or cancellation online here. For the other airlines, you will need to reach out to them on the phone if you have not already heard from them.
Are you flying to Delhi or from Delhi over the coming two weeks? Do share your experience with airlines in the comments below.