Pakistan extends closure of airspace along India

Islamabad: Pakistan has further extended the closure of its airspace along its eastern border with India until 15 June, according to the country’s civil aviation authority.

Pakistan fully closed its airspace in February after an Indian Air Force strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot. The country opened its airspace for all flights except for New Delhi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur on 27 March.

On 15 May, Pakistan extended its airspace ban for flights to India till 30 May.¬†According to a notice issued to airmen (NOTAM) by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the country’s airspace along the eastern border with India will remain closed until 5 am (local time) on 15 June.

As per a separate NOTAM issued by the CAA, the Panjgoor airspace would remain open for overflying transit flights from the western side as Air India had already been using that airspace.
Pakistan had given a special permission to India for External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to fly directly through Pakistani airspace to attend the SCO meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on May 21. However, the airspace for other commercial airliners remained closed.

As a result of the ban, foreign carriers using Indian airspace have been forced to take costly detours because they cannot fly over Pakistan. The closure mainly affects flights from Europe to Southeast Asia. The flights from US and Europe flying in and out of New Delhi were worst hit.

Thousands of travellers suffer flight cancellations, delays and soaring ticket prices due to Pakistan’s decision to close its airspace for flights to and from India.

Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had said that due to closure of eastern side airspace, Pakistan was suffering from less loss compared to India as Indian commercial flights had to take longer routes for Europe, The Dawn reported.