Airlines are avoiding flights over Afghanistan as the local aviation authority on Monday urged them to reroute after it gave Kabul airspace to the military.
British Airways, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic announced they were no longer flying over the country after the Taliban took over Kabul.
The Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority said in a “notice to airmen” that “Kabul airspace has been released to the military”.
It advised airlines to reroute as “any transit through Kabul airspace will be uncontrolled”.
Lufthansa, whose group includes Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings and Swiss, and Air France said they would no longer use Afghan airspace until “further notice”.
Lufthansa said its group’s India-bound flights would suffer delays of up to an hour. The company said the announcement was made to ensure “flight safety”.
Air France is rerouting flights headed to Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, New Delhi and Singapore.
British Airways said in a brief statement that it is “not currently using Afghanistan’s airspace”.
Singapore Airlines said it was avoiding the airspace “in view of the latest development in Afghanistan”.
Virgin Atlantic said its flights to Islamabad, Lahore, Mumbai, and New Delhi will avoid Afghan airspace, stressing that “the health, safety, and security of our customers and people always come first”.
Thousands of people thronged Kabul’s airport as they tried to flee the country after the Taliban swept into the capital.
The United States has sent 6,000 troops to the airport to ensure the safe evacuation of embassy staff, as well as Afghans who worked as interpreters or in other support roles.
Other governments, including France, Germany, and Australia, also organized charter flights.
Lufthansa said it was discussing with the German government on how it could contribute to efforts to airlift German citizens and “local forces”.
France said it would begin evacuation flights on Monday with two military transport planes.