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SIA flights to Europe operating as scheduled, rerouted to avoid Pakistan airspace

SIA flights to Europe operating as scheduled, rerouted to avoid Pakistan airspace

Singapore Airlines planes are pictured on the tarmac at Changi Airport, Mar 28, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) flights to Europe are operating as scheduled, although they have been rerouted to avoid Pakistan's shuttered airspace, said the airline on Thursday (Feb 28).  

SIA added that there is now no need for refuelling stops.

On Wednesday, three SIA flights from Singapore - two to London and one to Frankfurt - had to stop halfway for refuelling before continuing to their destination. 

The refuelling was done in Dubai and Mumbai. 

One flight, SQ325 from Frankfurt to Singapore, was cancelled on Wednesday due to a delay.

The national carrier is also "uplifting additional fuel at this time to cater for any unforeseen circumstances" and has deployed additional crew for European flights.

"When the (Pakistan) airspace is re-opened, we will be conducting a thorough risk assessment before we decide to fly over the affected areas again," said SIA on Thursday in response to Channel NewsAsia's queries.

READ: The India-Pakistan crisis: What we know

According to flight tracking company Flightradar, the Pakistani airspace was opened for some flights on Thursday. 

It was shut a day earlier amid tensions with India. Both nuclear-armed neighbours claimed to have shot down the other's fighter jets on Wednesday, with Pakistan capturing an Indian pilot.

The airspace closure affected a key air route between Asia and Europe. 

Among the most affected were passengers flying from Thailand. Thousands of travellers in Bangkok were left scrambling for alternative arrangements, after Thai Airways International canceled more than a dozen flights to and from Europe late on Wednesday. 

"Last night there were about 5,000 passengers who came to check-in but unable to fly, mostly Thai Airways," Colonel Umnart Chomshai, superintendent of tourism police at Suvarnabhumi Airport, told Reuters.

Thai Airways resumed its European flights on Thursday after China granted permission to use its airspace, but service to and from Pakistan remains on hold.

Several Indian airports that were closed on Wednesday, including the Amritsar and Chandigarh airport, have resumed operations.

Budget carrier Scoot, which had cancelled two flights on Wednesday, said it has sent a relief flight from Singapore to Amritsar on Thursday. 

The relief flight departed Singapore at 5pm, and will leave Amritsar at 9.55pm local time.

"Passengers of flights TR508 Singapore-Amritsar and TR509 Amritsar-Singapore on Feb 27, 2019 that were cancelled due to airport closure may proceed to the airport for the relief flights, if they had not earlier requested for a refund," said Scoot on its website. 

It added that scheduled Singapore-Amritsar services will resume on Friday.

Source: CNA/gs

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