Expats stranded at UAE airports as Pakistan airspace shuts down

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Expats stranded at UAE airports as Pakistan airspace shuts down

Abu Dhabi/Dubai - The ongoing India-Pakistan standoff has escalated the situation in the region.

By Sarwat Nasir

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Published: Tue 26 Feb 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Feb 2019, 8:31 AM

Pakistani expats in the UAE and ones visiting their home country have been left stranded as Pakistan's airspace remains closed due the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.
Also read: Wars are miscalculated, let's talk, Imran Khan to Modi

Zubia Basit, a Pakistani expat in Sharjah, is currently stranded in Karachi as she was turned away from entering the airport.

Her Air Arabia flight was at 2pm (Karachi time) and she waited for nearly two hours outside of the airport, until she was asked to leave.

"My husband and son are waiting for me in Sharjah. My son's birthday is coming up and we have an entire party planned. My party planner is also waiting for me. It's going to be terrible is his own mother misses his birthday. I hope things get resolved soon and we can catch a flight," Basit told Khaleej Times.

One more Pakistani expat, Aaisha Sohail's, mother-in-law is meant to be travelling back to Islamabad early tomorrow morning as her visit visa is expiring on March 1.

"She's been here on a visit visa for three months. It's expiring, she needs to travel before it expires and we had scheduled the flight accordingly. If she's not able to travel, it'll be a major problem," Sohail said. "I'm waiting for more updates, hopefully, the airspace will be open by then."

Another expat was meant to travel from Abu Dhabi to Pakistan on a 2pm flight today. She said: "I mean it's upsetting because there's uncertainty but we're trying to be positive and hope that the flight won't get delayed for long."

Sadaf Rajput was flying from Karachi to the UAE on a 4.10pm flight (Karach time), however, was also turned away.  

Emirates flights cancelled

Emirates also issued a statement, cancelling flights to Pakistan:
"Due to the closure of Pakistani and Afghanistan airspace, a number of Emirates flights to/from Pakistan and Afghanistan on 27 and 28 February have been cancelled. The latest flight schedules can be found on emirates.com. Affected passengers are requested to contact their booking agent or Emirates reservations to rebook their flights or make alternative travel arrangements.
We are sorry for any inconvenience caused to our customers. The safety of our passengers and crew is of the utmost importance and will not be compromised.
We continue to monitor the situation closely, and will update our customers as the situation develops"

Dubai Airports flights impacted

Dubai Airports also tweeted out a statement informing travellers that flights to Pakistan have been impacted and to contact respective airlines for updates.

Abu Dhabi, Al Ain airports suspend flights

In a statement issued on social media, Abu Dhabi Airport also announced suspension of flights to Pakistan until further notice - taking into consideration the safety of travellers and staff.
Passengers are urged to contact their airlines for flight updates.

Statement regarding Pakistan Airspace Closure: 1/4
February 27, 2019

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