Lufthansa Cargo has suspended freighter flights to Pakistan by subsidiary Lufthansa Cargo India after reports of a mid-air explosion near one of its aircraft.

The pilot of a Lufthansa Cargo India Boeing 727-200F en route to Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, reported a flash and an explosion near the aircraft while it was making a right turn, passing 3,000ft (900m) on its climb, 6km (3nm) south-west of Karachi on 6 September. Lufthansa has written to the Pakistani authorities and suspended its six weekly cargo services between Sharjah and Karachi.

According to reports from Karachi, the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority says the "observed lighted object was a pyrotechnic light flare", not a missile. The CAA adds: "In all probability, the flash was caused by re-entry of disintegrated pieces of artificial satellites or meteor showers."

This view is supported by the Pakistani space research commission, says the CAA, dismissing Indian reports that the incident was caused by a missile. Tensions between India and Pakistan remain high because of the long-running dispute over the Kashmir region.

Source: Flight International