New Delhi airport

New Delhi airport

Indian travelers are going to have a great 2018, what with there being 16 long weekends in the whole year. And the first proper long weekend of the year is on the eve of the birth of the nation: Republic Day. The big day falls on a Monday this year, which is great news for everyone itching to head out. But it is not that great for those planning to travel to or from New Delhi airport in the days leading up to Republic Day. More than 700 flights scheduled between January 18 and 26, 2018 are being cancelled to prepare for the Big Day. ALSO READ: Jodhpur and Jaisalmer in 4 Days: Itinerary for a Whirlwind Adventure Also Read - 2 Lakh Ola, Uber Drivers Go on Strike in Delhi-NCR, Commuters Especially IIT-Jee Aspirants to Face Problems

The flight cancellations are happening as the Indian Air Force closes down airspace over the airport to prepare for the big fly-past performance at the Republic Day 2018 parade. This happens every year, with the Air Force closing down airspace between January 18 and 26. The only exception is January 19 and 25, when all flights to and from Indira Gandhi airport run as per the usual schedule. On the other days, the airspace closure will be effective between 10:30am and 12:15pm, with a half-hour buffer. Also Read - Ola, Uber Drivers Threaten Strike From September 1 | All You Need to Know

While the Air Force has always closed the airspace over New Delhi in the days before the Republic Day, this is the first time that airlines are cancelling their flights. Normally, they would reschedule the flights instead. With this big change, more than 100 flights are expected to be cancelled every day in and out of New Delhi, affecting more than 10,000 passengers in each of the seven days that the airport closure will be effective. Also Read - Noida: DLF Mall of India Roof Collapse Footage Goes Viral, Authorities Say 'Video is Old'

The cancellations are only applicable for domestic flights, with international flights touching down or taking off from Delhi being rescheduled. It isn’t yet clear what flights will be cancelled and what sort of compensation will be offered to the passengers who’ve already booked their tickets. The current rules regarding flight cancellations require that the airline offer passengers a seat on another flight scheduled less than 2 hours within the originally scheduled departure. But given that the circumstances are not in their control and many more flights around the same time will be cancelled, they may not be able to offer that option. NOW READ: A Different Mountain Getaway in Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand

To be sure that this doesn’t mess with your travel plans, check with your airline to see if your scheduled flight has been cancelled. Cancellations may drive up ticket prices for the non-cancelled flights. And there can still be delays, because of the Delhi smog.