AT News Report
KABUL: Flights between Kabul and New Delhi have to use the long air way of Iran after tensions erupted between India and Pakistan, with the latter blocking its air way for the flights, officials said Friday.
The state-run Ariana Airline is to launch its first flight via the new route, while the private Kam Air having earlier done.
Nader Omar, head of Ariana Airline said the new way would take more time to head to New Delhi as the passenger planes have to first enter Iran space and then cross the Indian Ocean to enter Indian soil.
“We are doing our first flight via Iran space, but the time for flight is much more than the previous one. Our flights via Pakistan space took only one hour and half, but via Iran it takes around five hours,” Omar said.
Pakistan blocked its air route for Afghan flights after India air force targeted areas inside Pakistan soil in retaliation to a suicide attack against Indian army convoy that killed two weeks ago about 44 soldiers.
Tensions between the two nuclear armed neighbors are rising with Pakistan air force, downing an Indian fighter jet on Wednesday and arrested its pilot.
Pakistan has reportedly blocked its air space for any flights to India. On Wednesday, a Kam Air passenger plane flying to New Delhi returned Kabul after Pakistani government refused to issue permission to use its space.
The British Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, SriLankan Airlines and Air Canada have suspended flights to Pakistan, while the Singapore Airlines, Aeroflot and Fine Air that use Pakistani space for their flights have been banned.
The cost of air tickets has doubled, according to Omar, who said it was previously 160 dollars for the one-way ticket, but now it costs 300 dollars.
Meanwhile, tens of Afghans in India are waiting in New Delhi airport to fly to Kabul.