Islamabad: Pakistan has further extended the closure of its airspace along its eastern border with India until June 15, 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 March 27 for all flights except for New Delhi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Then May 15, Pakistan extended its airspace ban for flights to India till May 30.
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), June 15.
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 May 21 to India for External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to fly directly through Pakistani airspace to attend the SCO meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. 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 are the worst hit..
Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had said that due to closure of eastern side airspace, Pakistan was suffering less loss compared to India as Indian commercial flights had to take longer routes for Europe, the ‘Dawn’ reported Thursday.