Multiple carriers, including Singapore Airlines, are rerouting flights to avoid Afghanistan airspace, after the capital city, Kabul, fell to Taliban control.
Flight tracking website Flightradar 24 showed few flights over Afghanistan, with SQ319, flying from London to Singapore on Aug. 15, taking another route over Russia, China and Mongolia, instead of the usual route over Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Video shows 24hrs over Afghanistan last Monday, 9 August 2021.— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) August 16, 2021
Some airlines (including British Airways, KLM, and Singapore Airlines) are now rerouting overflights around Afghanistan. Current airspace over Afghanistan can be viewed at: https://t.co/w2Yw2MIxdk pic.twitter.com/dtB3X4nB7t
In response to Mothership's query, a spokesperson for Singapore Airlines said:
"In view of the latest development in Afghanistan, all Singapore Airlines and Scoot flights are currently not traversing the Afghan airspace. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and make the appropriate adjustments where necessary."
Kabul-bound Emirates flight returns to Dubai
Separately, Aug. 15 also saw a Kabul-bound Emirates flight return to Dubai, on the same day that the Taliban seized control of the city.
Flightradar 24 showed the plane circling near Kabul, before it left.
A spokesperson for Emirates was quoted by Reuters as stating, "We are monitoring developments around the situation in Afghanistan and are working closely with all the relevant authorities to ensure the safe operation of our services."
State-owned UAE airline, flydubai, also said that it had suspended services to Kabul until further notice, adding that an Aug. 15 Kabul-bound flight had also returned midway.
Airport in a state of chaos, five people dead
In the meantime, Kabul's airport has since been thrown into a state of chaos, with civilians and foreigners alike attempting to flee Afghanistan.
The airport was closed to commercial flights by U.S. military officials on Aug. 15, in response to nearby gunfire.
At least five people have died amidst the scramble to board evacuation flights, according to eyewitnesses who spoke to Reuters.
Aljazeera reported that it is unclear as to how they had died.
Apart from the U.S., other countries that have also flown in military aircraft to evacuate their embassy staff and citizens include Spain, Italy and Australia.
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Top screenshot via Ragıp Soylu Twitter