Illustrative only: An Air Arabia aircraft takes off at Sharjah International Airport. the airline added 21 new routes to its network in the first nine months of 2015. Picture for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority temporarily reopened its airspace on Thursday to allow Emirates and Air Arabia aircraft to return to the UAE.

Emirates EK637 and Air Arabia G9825 flew back from Peshawar to Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah respectively, but without any passengers on board.

A spokesperson from Air Arabia confirmed that what was known as “ferry flights” — those made without passengers to return the aircraft to base — “had been given approval to go back to their homeland.”

Other than this there had been no change to the closure of Pakistan Airspace, which remains until 0800 EST (5pm UAE time) on March 1, according to the PCAA’s official twitter account.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi Airports both said flights to and from the UAE carrying passengers were cancelled until further notice, adding that they were working to support affected guests.

Etihad Airways confirmed that they had no flights on the ground in Pakistan at the time of the closure and therefore would not be having any ‘ferry flights’ returning to Abu Dhabi. Flights carrying passengers to and from Pakistan were cancelled until further notice.

Airlines and airports referred Gulf News to the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, who confirmed that flights (carrying passengers) were suspended until further notice, and that they were continuing to monitor the situation.

Thousands of air travellers worldwide were left stranded on Thursday after Pakistan closed its airspace in response to escalating tensions with India.

Thai Airways has cancelled nearly 30 flights, affecting 5,000 passengers.

“All THAI flights from Bangkok to Europe departing near midnight of 27 FEB through early 28 FEB and from Europe to Bangkok departing on 27 FEB have been cancelled due to Pakistan airspace closure,” the airline wrote on its Twitter page.

The decision affected its services to London, Munich, Paris, Brussels, Milan, Vienna, Stockholm, Zurich, Copenhagen and Oslo, but the airline said at around 0530 GMT that it was resuming normal operations to Europe.

Singapore Airlines’ was also forced to direct flights to Europe to re-fuel, while a flight to Frankfurt was cancelled.

— with inputs from agencies