Amidst tension between India and Pakistan, the Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport (RGIA) on Saturday announced that there is a ban on the entry of visitors at the airport until further notice. The airport authorities also urged the passengers to report early at the airport.
In a statement RGIA said, "In view of the security alert issued by the GOI to all airports, passengers are advised to report early. A ban on entry of visitors into the airport has also been imposed from 1st March till further notice."
Speaking to TNM, the airport spokesperson said that the notice was issued upon the direction of Government of India.
This week, following India's air strikes at Balakot in Pakistan, tension prevailed after Pakistan retaliated and entered into India's airspace, and an IAF pilot was held in Pakistan. Subsequently, a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) was issued to all the airports. Airports north of Delhi India also shut down briefly. However, as the tensions eased, the airports were reopened.
Meanwhile, IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was released on Friday by the Pakistan government, as a "peace gesture." Wing Commander Abhinandan's release was delayed by five hours after Pakistan changed the timing of his handover twice. He was finally handed over to India at 9.25 pm on Friday after two days in Pakistan's custody.
Wing Commander Abhinandan was taken into Pakistani custody after his MiG 21 Bison aircraft was shot down in PoK. After Pakistani fighter jets invaded Indian airspace on Wednesday morning, IAF aircraft gave chase to the Pakistani F-16s across the Line of Control. According to reports, Wing Commander Abhinandan brought down PAF's F-16 before his MiG-21 Bison was brought down, and he was apprehended by officials of the Pakistan army.
Addressing the Pakistan parliament on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said, "As a peace gesture, I announce that tomorrow (Friday), and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer in our custody."