- PM Modi will take the longer route to Saudi Arabia as Pakistan denied the use of its airspace
- The flight plan will factor in Cyclone Kyarr, the first super cyclonic storm in Arabian Sea in last 12 Years
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Air India One will take the longer route toSaudi Arabiaon Monday as theBoeing 747 will not overfly Pakistan. The aircraft will now fly from Delhi to near Mumbai from where it will turn over the Arabian Sea on its way to Riyadh. The flight plan will factor in Cyclone Kyarr, the first super cyclonic storm in Arabian Sea in last 12 years.
” Flying over Pakistan landmass would have meant avoiding the super cyclonic storm altogether. Now the flight path will be such that it avoids the oceanic Karachi airspace and Kyarr. The increase in Delhi-Riyadh flying time will be about 45 minutes, ”said sources. Pakistan media on Sunday said the country had denied India’s request to allow PM Modi’s VVIP flight to use its airspace.
According to India Met Department (IMD) statement on Sunday afternoon, Kyarr “is very likely to move towards Oman coast during next 5 days. It is very likely to maintain the intensity of a super cyclonic storm till Tuesday morning and weaken gradually… ”Kyarr is centering itself 580 km off the western side of the southwest coast of Mumbai. The flight plan is being worked out accordingly.
PM will land in Riyadh on Monday and will meet Saudi monarch Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud on Tuesday apart from addressing the Future Investment Initiative Forum organized by Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund before flying back to India.
Since February, VVIP flights between Delhi and the west of the Indian President and PM have taken the longer route as AI One is not overflying Pakistan airspace. The neighboring country airspace was closed for overflying by all flights from February 27 following Indian Air Force’sBalakotstrike and the same was re-opened after 138 days on July 16. While schedule commercial and charter flights have started overflying Pakistan after July 16, Pakistan has not allowed Indian AI One to overfly.
In September, Pakistan turned down overflight request by India for the PM “Howdy Modi” US visit. In the same month, PresidentRam Nath Kovindhad to take the longer route between Delhi and Europe. In June, PM Modi flew from Delhi to Bishkek taking the longer route.
alternate route from Delhi bypassing Pakistan airspace means flying close to Mumbai then taking the Arabian Sea (steering clear Pakistan airspace around Karachi) -Muscat route onward to Europe. The straight route would have entailed flying from Delhi to Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran to Europe.
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