Indian flights to use Pakistan’s airspace again


Pakistan on Tuesday opened its airspace for all civilian traffic on Tuesday morning, sources said, effectively removing the bar on Indian flights that were not allowed to use majority of its airspace since the Indian Air Force’s strike on a terror camp in Balakot in February, the Indian media reported. The move is expected to give a major relief to state-owned Air India, which suffered a financial loss of around Rs 491 crore as its flights had to take a longer route for its West-bound international flights due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace

"Pakistan has permitted all airlines to fly through its airspace from today. Indian airline operators will start using normal routes through Pakistan airspace soon," the reports said. Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) at around 12.41 am Indian time, stating that "with immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes"

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force (IAF) struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot on February 25 in retaliation to the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 which left 40 Indian paramilitary personnel dead. Since then, the neighbouring country had only opened two routes, both of them passing through the southern region, of the total 11

On its part, the IAF had announced on May 31 that all temporary restrictions imposed on the Indian airspace post the Balakot strike had been removed. However, it did not benefit most of the commercial airliners and they were waiting for Pakistan to fully open its airspace.