Due to the conflict with Russia, the Ukrainian government is closing airports in eastern Ukraine from midnight to 7 am.
As the Russian aviation authorities attempt to gain control of the airspace, Ukrainian aviation authorities have deemed some airspace in the east to be ‘dangerous.’ The declaration came after Russia placed a ban on civilian aviation travel in the airspace over eastern Ukraine. The statement, made late Wednesday night, creates buffer zones for Ukrainian-controlled traffic to avoid potentially dangerous clashes with Russian-controlled air traffic.
Ukrainian aviation officials urged pilots in the region last week to watch Russian authorities attempting to take control of the airspace and only to trust Ukraine’s Air Traffic Controllers.
Air India Rescue Flight to Ukraine Returns Mid-air
In another development, Air India’s evacuation flight to Ukraine returned mid-air as Kyiv shut down the airport.
An Air India flight - AI 1947 - that took off for Kyiv at 7.24 am on Thursday from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport to bring back Indian nationals looking to leave Ukraine had to turn around midway after Kyiv’s Boryspil airport was closed for civilian flights due to the onset of a military invasion of Ukraine by neighbouring country Russia.
At 12:35 pm, the returned Air India flight arrived at Delhi airport. Seven crew members were on board the plane deployed to bring back Indians who had fled Ukraine due to growing political tensions.
According to some sources from Delhi IGI airport, the flight had to turn back when it was overflying Iran around 10 am IST. Once Iran’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) told Air India pilots that Ukrainian airspace was restricted to civilian flights, the airline decided to return to its destination.
“The pilot in command informed the Delhi ATC that he had to return as the Ukrainian airport had issued a notice to airmen (also called NOTAM),” said a Delhi airport official told The Hindustan Times.
Air India took off the flight for rescue operation after confirming the statuses in Kyiv. However, Ukraine closed down the airport only after the aircraft took off, which prevented the crew from knowing the updated status. However, only hours after the plane departed [Delhi], Ukraine announced the airport closure and... we were forced to fly back,” The Hindustan Times quoted an Air India official.