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Ukraine has closed its airspace, Air India evacuation flights affected

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hAFUBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALwGsYoAAaRlbhAAAAAASUVORK5CYII= Ukraine has closed its airspace, Air India evacuation flights affected

Amid the crisis escalating in Ukraine, it has issued a NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) citing a potential hazard to civil aviation around 7:30 am IST this morning which has led to the restriction on all civilian flights to the region. An Air India flight that was meant to evacuate Indian citizens from the Ukrainian capital left a few minutes from New Delhi before the NOTAM was issued and had to return in view of the restrictions imposed. At 10:30 am this morning, the flight was in Iranian airspace.

The NOTAM, which was a notice issued to the pilots along with the ATC personnel and the airline operations teams about the condition of particular airspace was issued in the light of escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine. With the large-scale military operations being launched on the nation, civilian flights would have been at very high risk because of the chaotic nature of the airspace of Ukraine. The tensions began almost a few weeks ago, the airspace of Ukraine was kept open for civilian flights which allowed non-essential foreigners such as the Indian students, and the families of the embassy staff to fly out of the country. 

Ukraine has closed its airspace Air India evacuation flights affected1 Ukraine has closed its airspace, Air India evacuation flights affected
Ukraine has closed its airspace, Air India evacuation flights affected 6

Air India was operating its second out of the three evacuation flights it had planned to Kyiv for the flying out of stranded Indian nationals from Ukraine. According to the reports, this was one of only three flights en route to Kyiv Boryspil Airport in Ukraine. One of the other flights Ukraine International airlines from Baku was diverted to an airport in Moldova that shares its northern border with Ukraine. 

Air India is yet to announce the cancellation of the evacuation flights but in the light of the crisis escalating in Ukraine, it is highly unlikely that the third flight that was supposed to be operating on Saturday will be taking off any more. Thousands of Indians are waiting to fly back from Ukraine amid the conflict with Russia. Although the NOTAM issued by the government of Ukraine was made effective only till 5:30 am IST on Friday, the order is likely to be extended given the latest attack on the country by Russia. 

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