New Delhi: Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM), stating “with immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes”, reported ANI on Tuesday. (Also read: Pakistan Opens Airspace For PM Modi)
“Pakistan has permitted all airlines to fly through its airspace from around 12.41 AM today. Indian airline operators will start using normal routes through Pakistan airspace soon,” PTI quoted sources as saying.
India has also issued revised NOTAM immediately thereafter. With this, normal air traffic operations have resumed through all Flight Information Regions between India and Pakistan.
Interestingly, only last week, Pakistan had extended its airspace ban along its eastern border for commercial flights, its condition being that India de-escalated its fighter jets from IAF airbases.
Pakistan’s Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat had informed a parliamentary committee that the neighbouring country will not allow a resumption of flight operations from India until the fighter jets were withdrawn from the forward position.
“The Indian government approached us asking to open the airspace. We conveyed our concerns that first India must withdraw its fighter planes placed forward,” Nusrat had said.
Pakistan had closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot in retaliation to the Pulwama attack of February 14. Since then, of the 11 routes, the neighbouring country had only opened two routes.
As a result of the restrictions, all flights were diverted to alternative routes by India. Post the airstrike, Air India had to re-route or suspend many of its international flights that connect India with European and US cities.
IndiGo was also unable to start direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace which it had started in March. This flight has had to take the longer route over the Arabian Sea and make a stop at Doha in Qatar for refuelling.