Security precautions will close New Delhi airspace for 12 hours this week as the Indian Air Force (IAF) practices ahead of Republic Day parades due to take place on Sunday, January 26th.
Airspace over and around Indira Gandhi International Airport (Del) will be closed to private and commercial aircraft for two hours on certain days. According to Business Traveller, the days are January 18, January 20 through 24 and January 26th, 2020.
The no-fly zone will be in effect on those days between10:35 hours and 12:15 hours.
All airlines have rescheduled their flights
Indian carriers Indigo, Vistara, and Spicejet have issued statements to the traveling public advising them to expect disruptions and delays ahead of the Republic Day celebrations.
Vistara notified its passengers in a tweet that reads:
“Flights to and from Delhi on January 18, 20th – 24th and 26th Jan might be affected due to airspace restrictions for Republic Day rehearsals. Please SMS UK (– removed HTML –) to 9289228888 for updated flight status.”
In their advisory, Indigo issued a statement which read:
“Due to heightened security owing to Republic Day, passengers may face rush at the airports. We request all passengers to reach the airport at least three hours prior to departure to avoid any hassle.”
All flights that were due to take off and land during the closure time have been rescheduled to accommodate the parade rehearsals. International carriers were also asked to reschedule their flights due to the temporary restrictions.
Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi is the busiest airport in India and the 12th busiest in the world, with around 1,300 flights per day, including private jets and military aircraft.
Along with the restrictions on flights in the Indian capital, police have issued alerts to let the public know that vehicular traffic in New Delhi will also face restrictions.
What is India Republic Day?
As the history books will tell you, India gained independence from Great Britain on August 15, 1947, but remained a constitutional monarchy with Lord Mountbatten as the Governor-General of India.
Mountbatten then proceeded to appoint Jawaharlal Nehru to be the country’s first Prime Minister of the newly independent Indian state.
Now, with a new government in place, India had to come up with a constitution to move forward.
Ratifying a document that all members of parliament could agree on took three years with the assembly deciding that January 26th, 1950 as the day it would come into effect.
This date was chosen specifically because it was on January 26, 1930, that the Indian National Congress party voted to end British rule.
What happens on Republic Day?
Before the celebrations begin, the Indian Prime Minister places a wreath of remembrance at the India Gate in memory of all the Indian soldiers who died during times of war.
This is then followed by a two-minute silence, after which India shows off her military might with a grand parade featuring displays from the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Similar celebrations take place, albeit on a smaller scale in other Indian cities, towns, and villages.
Other national holidays in India are Independence Day on August 15th and Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday on October 2nd.