New Delhi: Pakistan has opened one of its 11 air routes for west-bound flights from India and airlines such as Air India and Turkish Airlines have started using it, said a senior government official here, Saturday.
“Pakistan has been opening its airspace in tranches. Thursday, it opened one of the 11 routes for west-bound flights. Therefore, airlines such as Air India and Turkish Airlines have started using it,” the official informed.
Even though the ‘Route P518’ was opened Thursday evening, American airlines company United Airlines announced Friday that its flight connecting Newark airport and Delhi airport has been suspended for two weeks.
Pakistan had kept its airspace fully closed February 26 after an Indian Air Force strike on a terror camp in Balakot. However, Pakistan opened its airspace march 27 for all flights except for Bangkok, New Delhi and Kuala Lumpur,
“Since the ‘Route P518’ that has been opened passes over south Pakistan, the air travel time for west-bound flights from Delhi will not decrease substantially,” the official clarified.
Since February 26, many foreign airlines have decided to suspend their Delhi-bound flights as it was commercially unviable for them to take a longer route through Mumbai airspace. The operating cost for Air India, which flies to destinations in Europe and the US, has increased significantly as it had to take longer routes due to closure of Pakistan airspace.
The Delhi-Washington and Delhi-Chicago flights of the national carrier had been making stops at Mumbai and Vienna for refuelling and change of crew.