US and EU aviation agencies give greenlight to resume flights over Afghanistan

Aviation regulators have agreed to allow commercial aircraft to resume flying over Afghanistan, after a two-year suspension following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

India’s Economic Times reported that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) are now facilitating the reopening of Afghan airspace for overflights.

The FAA has reportedly granted permission to American Airlines to fly over the Kabul Flight Information Region (FIR) at altitudes exceeding 32,000 feet.

This decision comes after assessing risks to US civil aviation operations at higher altitudes in the region.

EASA has also directed its member state airlines not to fly below 32,000 feet due to ongoing potential threats to civil aviation and high operational risks at lower altitudes.

The resumption of flights over Afghanistan will significantly shorten travel time between the western and eastern regions, including northern India.

Since August 2021, flights have been taking longer routes to circumvent Afghanistan’s airspace.

Both the FAA and EASA have acknowledged concerns about the limited capacity of Air Traffic Service (ATS) in Afghanistan.

While the FAA clearance is a significant step forward, Indian airlines are exercising caution and emphasizing the need for a comprehensive risk analysis, especially on emergency landing procedures.