Leh Airport, located in the Ladakh region of India, experienced a temporary closure on May 16th as a result of technical problems encountered by the Indian Air Force’s C-17 Globemaster aircraft. The runway blockage caused disruptions in flight operations, leading to diversions and cancellations of several domestic flights to and from Leh.
The incident involved one of the 11 C-17 heavy lifters in the Indian Air Force’s fleet. The aircraft was engaged in a routine maintenance sortie when it encountered the technical issue upon landing at Leh. However, officials familiar with the matter have clarified that the problem is not severe and is being promptly addressed.
The C-17 Globemaster, along with IL-76s, C-130Js, and AN-32s, plays a critical role in supporting the Indian Army’s deployments in the Ladakh region. During the tense border standoff with China in 2020, C-17s played a vital role in swiftly transporting soldiers and military equipment to the eastern Ladakh area.
Leh Airport serves as a crucial airbase for the Indian armed forces, particularly in the strategic Ladakh region. It facilitates the rapid deployment of troops and the transportation of essential supplies to the forward areas. The airport’s closure due to the technical issue had an immediate impact on flight operations, causing inconvenience to passengers and logistical challenges for airlines.
However, authorities have assured that the technical problem with the C-17 aircraft is being resolved, and efforts are underway to make the runway operational again. It is expected that normal flight operations will resume promptly, ensuring the smooth movement of passengers and cargo to and from Leh.