Travel

BA, Virgin Atlantic, other major airlines are rerouting flights to avoid Afghan airspace

Business Insider US
British Airways East London
(Wikimedia Commons)

  • United Airlines has ordered its pilots to avoid Afghan airspace, Reuters reported.
  • Virgin Atlantic and British Airways will also reroute flights.
  • Taliban fighters seized the capital Kabul on Sunday and now effectively control the country.
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

Several major airlines have rerouted flights around Afghanistan's airspace after Taliban fighters seized the capital Kabul and took effective control of the country.

"Due to the dynamic nature of the situation we have begun routing affected flights around Afghanistan airspace," a United spokesperson told Insider.

It did not specify which flights were affected - Reuters first reported late on Sunday that the change would impact flights from the US to India, but the spokesperson told Insider this wasn't the case.

UK carrier Virgin Atlantic told Insider that all of its Islamabad, Lahore, Mumbai, and Delhi services, "which typically overfly Afghanistan," would avoid the country's airspace.

"Following the latest situation reports in Afghanistan, we will be re-routing our upcoming services to avoid Afghanistan's airspace," a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said in an emailed statement.

British Airways also said Sunday that it would divert flights around Afghan airspace, Reuters reported. The company confirmed to Insider on Monday that it was "?not currently using Afghanistan's airspace."

The Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) said Monday that it had released the national airspace to the military, and advised all transit aircraft to find new routes, Reuters reported.

In recent weeks, the Taliban have swept through Afghanistan, taking control of whole cities and regions, and displacing thousands of Afghan civilians. President Ashraf Ghani said in a Facebook post Sunday that he had fled the country after Taliban fighters entered Kabul, 20 years after US forces entered the country. President Joe Biden in April announced a full withdrawal of US troops.

The Taliban said that it planned to declare an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Associated Press reported, citing an unnamed Taliban official.

Videos shared on social media show crowds of people at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport attempting to flee the city.

In July, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned US commercial airlines from flying below 26,000 feet in Kabul airspace. The FAA said in the notice that only flights to and from Hamid Karzai International Airport were permitted to fly lower.


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