A Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Tokyo Haneda was forced to suddenly turn back and circle over Germany for an hour, burning off fuel after Azerbaijan suddenly closed its airspace after launching a military assault on the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region on Tuesday.
Azerbaijan is said to have only provided an hour’s notice of its intention to launch the attack, but the warning didn’t come in enough time to alert civilian airlines which routinely use airspace in the region to avoid Russian airspace.
Lufthansa flight LH716 departed Frankfurt at around 2:42 pm, according to data provided by Flight Radar 24, and had been flying for around an hour when it was suddenly ordered to turn back to Frankfurt Am Main Airport.
The fully laden 747 was then forced to circle over southeastern Germany for around an hour to burn off fuel before it could safely land exactly where it had started several hours before.
Lufthansa flight LH648 from Frankfurt to Almaty in Kazakhstan was also forced to divert back to Germany around two hours into the flight after Azerbaijani airspace was suddenly closed.
A slew of other Lufthansa flights, including services to Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul, had to be cancelled at the last minute due to the airspace restrictions, according to data provided by aviation source @xJonNYC on X.
The Nagorno-Karabakh is recognised as belonging to Azerbaijan but ethnic Armenians want the breakaway region to become a part of Armenia. In a statement, Azerbaijan’s military said Tuesday’s assault was an “anti-terror” operation.
On Tuesday, the German Foreign Office said Azerbaijan “must immediately stop the shelling, return to the table, and negotiate”.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.