Pakistan reopens airspace for civil aviation after India standoff


civil aviation Pakistani airspace Pakistani flights Indian flights India standoff
16 Jul, 2019 10:17 am

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s airspace has been reopened to civil aviation with immediate effect, its aviation authority said on Tuesday, following months of restrictions imposed in the wake of a standoff with neighboring India earlier this year.

“With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes,” according to a notice to airmen (NOTAMS) published on the authority’s website.

An official at the authority, reached by telephone, confirmed that the change was in effect.

Pakistan had on February 26 fully closed its airspace following the violation of its international boundary and airspace by Indian fighter jets. In March, it partially opened its airspace but kept it banned for the Indian flights. India had also banned its airspace for flights to Pakistan.

Earlier, Civil Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat said: “The Indian government had asked us to open the airspace. We conveyed our concerns that first India must withdraw its fighter planes placed forward. We are ready to open our airspace if India de-escalates.”

Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor and the airspace restrictions affected hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding to flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.

The announcement came hours after United Airlines Holdings Inc said it was extending the suspension of its flights from the United States to Delhi and Mumbai in India until October 26, citing continued restrictions of Pakistani airspace.

Earlier, Pakistani airspace was shut after the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), acknowledged the closure of Pakistan’s airspace due to the prevailing security situation.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian jets, giving the first surprise to India. According to the ISPR, the Indian jets had violated the Line of Control. The PAF gave a timely response and destroyed them.

The Pak Army jawans arrested one of the pilots. The wreckage of one of the jets fell in the Pakistani territory, while the wreckage of another jet fell in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.


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