Sunday Apr 05, 2020
Indian flag carrier Air India received unexpected praise for its relief operations from a Pakistani Air Traffic Controller (ATC) while on its way to Europe.
An Air India flight which was evacuating stranded European and Canadian citizens in its special flights operating from India to Frankfurt was applauded by a Pakistani ATC for its efforts during the global pandemic.
"It was a very proud moment for me as well as the entire Air India crew when we heard a Pakistani ATC praising our special flight operations to Europe," one of the senior captains of the special flights told ANI.
"As we entered Pakistan's Flight Information Region (FIR), the Pakistan Air Traffic Controller (ATC) greeted us 'Assalaam Alaikum!' This is Karachi's control welcoming Air India for relief flights to Frankfurt," the Pakistan ATC told the senior captain.
Once the pilot of Air India flight confirmed, the Pakistan ATC praised them for their efforts. "We are proud of you that in a pandemic situation you are operating flights, Good Luck!"
According to The Print, after the conversation, when the Air India captain informed the Pakistan ATC that he was not receiving the next radar for the Iran airspace, Pakistan communicated the Indian plane's position to the Tehran airspace and gave details of the two special Air India flights.
After crossing Pakistan's airspace, the special flight entered Iran.
The captain said for the first time in his career, he had seen Iran giving a direct route of over 1,000 miles to aircraft of another country. The direct route of Iran's airspace is strictly reserved for their defence purposes only and is rarely accessible by airlines of other countries, according to the publication.
The Air India captain said the Iranian ATC also wished them 'all the best'. After Iran, the AI special flights went through Turkey and then Germany's airspace.
"All ATCs from Bombay to Frankfurt welcomed the special flights of Air India and wished us very proudly," he added.