Pakistan closed its entire airspace on February 27, 2019. Since then, they have opened the airspace up for very few flights, largely their own carrier and some flights into Pakistan. Every day, they delay the opening of their airspace for overflying flight, and there is no schedule at the moment about when will be the international aviation community be able to use Pakistan’s airspace again.
The prolonged closure has significant implications for many carriers that overfly Pakistan. This has had major implications on Air India which is the largest carrier operating non-stop flights between India and the USA. Air India flights to the USA and Europe are severely impacted.
United which operates two non-stop flights from Newark, one to Mumbai and another to Delhi, has suspended Delhi – Newark flights till July 3, 2019. The Mumbai – Newark flight is operating as per schedule but is taking a longer flight path.
Air Canada operates a daily Toronto – Delhi and Vancouver – Delhi flight with Boeing 787-9 aircraft. Now, due to the prolonged closure of Pakistan airspace, Air Canada is suspending its daily AC 42/43 Toronto-Delhi flight from June 15, 2019, to July 31, 2019 (Toronto departure).
Currently, the flight is blocked at 15-16 hours due to a longer route to avoid Pakistan airspace. On the other hand, Air Canada will continue operating its daily Vancouver – Delhi flight. The Boeing 787-9 flies to Delhi from Vancouver uses a longer route as they fly over UAE, enter India through Mumbai airspace and then go North to Delhi.
On the return flight back to Vancouver from Delhi, the 787-9 flies over the Pacific, just like Air India’s Delhi to San Francisco flight. Hence, the Vancouver flight isn’t affected that much.
If you are travelling on Air Canada’s Delhi-Toronto service during the affected period, contact Air Canada if you haven’t been proactively accommodated.
The Pakistan airspace closure has now become ridiculously long. With the US – Iran tensions in the neighbourhood, very soon we may have an issue with overflying altogether getting crowded out in the Middle East.
Are you affected by the suspension of AC 42/43 Delhi – Toronto flights?