United Airlines, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have stopped using Afghanistan’s airspace after the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in the capital city of Kabul in the aftermath of the US and NATO forces withdrawal.
In a notice published on the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority website on Monday, the ACAA said that Kabul airspace had been released to the military and that transit aircraft were advised to reroute.
ACAA said any transit through Kabul airspace would be uncontrolled and it had advised the surrounding flight information regions that control airspace.
In a tweet, the flight tracking website FlightRadar24 said that an Air India flight from Chicago to Delhi had changed course and exited Afghanistan’s airspace shortly after entering, while a Terra Avia flight from Baku to Delhi was also changing course.
Airlines and governments have paid more attention to the risks of flying over conflict zones in recent years after two deadly incidents involving surface-to-air missiles.
The first recent incident happened when a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board. Later in 2020, the Ukraine International Airlines jet was downed by Iran’s military, killing all 176 passengers and crew.