The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had ordered immediate shutdown of nine north Indian civilian airports – Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Pathankot, Amritsar, Shimla, Kangra, Kullu Manali, Pithoragarh citing the tension with Pakistan in the northern airspace; but the order was withdrawn on Wednesday and civilian flight operations at all 9 airports have been resumed.
After the pre-emptive non-military IAF airstrike at Balakot on February 26, the tension between Indo-Pak airspace had escalated around the northern Jammu-Kashmir and Punjab region. In an extremely short and immediately effective notice, the DGCA had ordered shutdown of civilian operations in entire airspace on the north side of Delhi. The list of airports that were shut down for civilian flights since Tuesday included Amritsar, Jammu, Srinagar and Leh, Kullu-Manali, Kangra, Shimla, Pathankot and Pithoragarh airports.
The DCGA said that the shutdown was to “strictly follow all guidelines of the Air Force” in the “view of emergency”, a step taken possibly after an IAF helicopter crashed in Budgam district. However, the shutdown order was withdrawn and flight operations were resumed from some airports, including Jammu. However, the area still remains to be on high alert as Pakistan’s warnings of retaliation after India’s fighter jets crossed the Line of Control had started surfacing.
In order to avoid any possible hostilities, the vulnerable cities including Punjab’s six border districts of Fazilka, Ferozepur, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Amritsar are on high alert. And airport authorities as well as Deputy Commissioners and SSPs of the region have been instructed to put contingency plans in immediate effect to ensure the safety and protection of citizens.