Eight airports over three northern states of Jammua and Kashmir, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have been shut down amid an escalation of hostilities with Pakistan. Sources said the entire airspace north of Delhi has to be vacated. The area has been on high alert amid Pakistan’s warnings of retaliation after India’s fighter jets crossed the Line of Control yesterday and destroyed a vast terror camp within Pakistan in a pre-dawn strike.
The list of airports shut includes Amritsar, Jammu, Srinagar and Leh, Kullu-Manali, Kangra, Shimla and Pathankot. While the official notice mentions a three-month shutdown, sources said it is the outer limit and depending on the situation on ground, it can be revoked earlier.
Following the Indian airstrike yesterday, Pakistan started heavy shelling and firing from across the border. It has also stopped flights from Islamabad and Lahore.
This morning, there were reports of Pakistani fighter jets violating Indian air space in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Rajouri sectors. Pakistan has also claimed it had shot down two jets of the Indian Air Force. The IAF has denied the claim, saying all pilots are accounted for.
The IAF also said a Pakistani F-16 aircraft had crashed in the Lam Valley area along the Line of Control.
An Indian Air Force chopper crashed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam this morning. Two bodies have been found, said the police.
Most airlines have tweeted to say they have received instructions to withhold flights to the designated airports.
Air Vistara tweeted that flights from Amritsar, Srinagar, Chandigarh and Jammu are on hold due to the airspace restrictions.