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Order on Shutdown of Nine Airports Withdrawn, Operations Set to Resume

Security forces and other establishments have been put on high alert following cross-LoC shelling initiated by Pakistani troops in early hours of Wednesday.

News18.com

Updated:February 28, 2019, 11:39 AM IST
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New Delhi: The orders to shut down nine airports after Pakistan violated India’s airspace have been withdrawn, with reports suggesting that operations have resumed from some of the airports such as Jammu. A spokesperson of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said, "As of now, ops to these airports resumed (sic)."

India had shut down nine airports — Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Pathankot, Amritsar, Shimla, Kangra, Kullu Manali, Pithoragarh — for civilian air traffic amid escalating tensions with Pakistan, officials said.

Responding to the situation, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said his ministry was "strictly" following the "guidelines and instructions" of the Indian Air Force. "We are strictly following all guidelines of the Air Force, and we will continue to do that," Sinha said on the sidelines of an event here. Asked how many flights have been impacted, Sinha said, "I don't have the number. But, as I said, we are following the instructions of the air force."

In Srinagar, an official of the Airports Authority of India had said, "The civilian air traffic has been suspended temporarily in view of the emergency". While the official did not specify the nature of the emergency, it was believed the step was taken in view of an IAF jet crashing in Budgam district.

Officials said they received instructions from air traffic controllers that the airports have been shut for civilian flights. Some of the flights en route to Jammu, Leh and Srinagar airports were diverted to their origin stations, they added. Airports at Chandigarh, Pathankot, Halwara and Bathinda were also put on high alert.

Commercial operations from Chandigarh international airport are on. Earlier, operations at Chandigarh were halted for some time.

Vistara Airlines had said in a tweet, "Due to airspace restrictions flights to and from Amritsar, Srinagar and Jammu are currently on hold. Chandigarh is now open again for flights".

Jet Airways had also said that in "line with the instructions received from Delhi ATC regarding airport closure Jet Airways flight operations to and from Amritsar, Jammu, Srinagar and Leh have been suspended until further notice".

Punjab's six border districts of Fazilka, Ferozepur, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Amritsar are on high alert since Tuesday. Deputy Commissioners and SSPs of border areas have been asked to put in place all contingency plans to ensure protection and safety of citizens, officials said.

| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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