Pakistani airspace to remain closed till 1pm: CAA

Published February 27, 2019
Pakistani airspace is closed, according to Civil Aviation Authority. — Photo by Qazi Hassan
Pakistani airspace is closed, according to Civil Aviation Authority. — Photo by Qazi Hassan

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Thursday said that Pakistani airspace will remain closed to commercial operations until 1pm today.

The CAA website shows that airspace is estimated to remain closed until 8am GMT on Friday, March 1.

Pakistani airspace was shut on Wednesday after the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations, the military's media wing, acknowledged the closure of Pakistan's airspace due to the prevailing security situation.

However, later in the day, the CAA ─ in a tweet which has since been deleted ─ had stated that commercial aviation had been partially restored.

But in another tweet in the early hours of Thursday morning, it retracted the "partial resumption" statement and said that the closure was in fact still intact, adding that it would reopen around midnight on Thursday.

This time has now been pushed ahead to 8am Eastern Standard Time, which is 6pm Pakistan time on March 1.

At the time of CAA's announcement on closure on Wednesday, Pakistani airspace, according to Flight Radar 24 — a global flight tracking service — was almost entirely empty.

A screengrab of Flight Radar 24 depicting Pakistani airspace after it was closed for all commercial activities.
A screengrab of Flight Radar 24 depicting Pakistani airspace after it was closed for all commercial activities.

According to CAA sources, three Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were given special permission to land at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport upon arrival in Pakistani airspace.

The three flights given permission to land in Karachi were — PK 756 from Riyadh to Sialkot, PK 286 from Doha to Peshawar and PK 790 from Toronto to Lahore.

As per the source, the flights from long routes did not know about Pakistani airspace being closed and were given permission to land.

Earlier, an airport official had told DawnNewsTV that Peshawar's Bacha Khan International Airport was temporarily closed for commercial flights. The airport will be used for military purposes till it is reopened for commercial activities, the official said, adding that a red alert had also been issued.

"All civilian flight operation [have been] suspended," the official said.

Similar reports were received from the Lahore and Karachi airports.

Earlier, sources at the Karachi airport had told DawnNewsTV that Pakistan International Airlines' (PIA) New Delhi-bound flight PK-270 had been cancelled due to tensions at the Line of Control.

Another PIA flight, PK-709, scheduled to leave for Manchester from Lahore, had also been stopped from taking off, PIA sources added.

Indian news reports say that airports in the Indian-occupied Kashmir have also been closed for civilian traffic.

The Press Trust of India news agency says these airports are located at Srinagar, Jammu and Leh.

Civil administrator Baseer Khan, as per The Associated Press, has confirmed that the airport in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-occupied Kashmir, was closed and said it was a “temporary and precautionary measure.”

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