As the Taliban reaches cities, several major international airlines are rushing to reroute flights to avoid the Afghan airspace, causing disruptions in carrier services to countries like Pakistan, India, as well as the United Arab Emirates.
Flights to or over Afghanistan were changed by the United Airlines (UAL) Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and Flydubai on Monday. The companies said they will still observe the situation in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul.
“Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, we have begun routing affected flights around Afghanistan airspace,” a spokesperson from the United Airlines said through a statement released Monday.
United flights to India were affected by the changes.
Apart from the UAL, Virgin Galactic also announced its rerouting of the coming flight services to Pakistan and India following “the latest situation reports in Afghanistan.”
Flights that usually take the route of Afghanistan airspace towards cities of Mumbai, Islamabad, Lahore, and New Delhi, will be changed starting Monday.
“The health, safety and security of our customers and people always comes first,” a spokesperson from the Virgin Atlantic said.
The same rerouting will be applied by the German airline Lufthansa. It said it was “rerouting flights to avoid Afghan airspace until further notice.”
“As a result, the flight time to India and other destinations will be extended by up to one hour,” Lufthansa’s spokesperson told CNN Business.
The Taliban swept through the presidential office in the capital city on Sunday shortly after former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani escaped.
More and more nations are moving to help their citizens flee Afghanistan. Among these countries were South Korea, New Zealand, as well as the United States.
Commercial flights were canceled out of Hamid Karzai International Airport, as announced by the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority said on Monday, adding that it closed the civilian part of the airport.
Foreign governments’ evacuation flights were still accommodated.
Apart from rerouting, many airlines declared plans to cancel services, like Emirates and Flydubai which suspended services to and from Afghanistan’s capital city.