Pakistan opens its airspace; closed since Balakot Strike
Pak Opens Its Airspace, Closed Since Balakot Strike
Pakistan has opened its airspace for all civilian traffic on Tuesday morning. It has effectively removed the ban on Indian flights that were not allowed to use majority of its airspace since the Balakot air strikes in February. This move by the neighbouring nation comes as relief to Indian Airlines.
As reported by a source to PTI, ” Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) at around 12:41 am, stating that “with immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes. Indian airline operators will start using normal routes through Pakistan airspace soon. ”
PTI report further adds, 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. This was in retaliation to the Pulwama attack on February 14. After the air strike, Air India had to re-route, merge or suspend many of its international flights that connect India with European and US cities.
The national carrier lost Rs. 491 crore till July 2 due to the closure of the Pakistani airspace. Private airlines SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir lost Rs. 30.73 crore, Rs. 25.1 crore and Rs. 2.1 crore, respectively, according to data presented by Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in the Rajya Sabha on July 3.
IndiGo, India’s largest airline by domestic market share, was unable to start direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace. They had to take the longer route over the Arabian Sea and make a stop at Doha in Qatar for refuelling. Now they can easily take the direct route all thanks to the opening of airspace by Pakistan.