Pakistan airspace fully reopened, says aviation authority

Published March 4, 2019
The decision to close the airspace came last Wednesday after a rare aerial dogfight between India and Pakistan. — APP/File
The decision to close the airspace came last Wednesday after a rare aerial dogfight between India and Pakistan. — APP/File

Pakistan fully reopened its airspace on Monday, authorities said, days after it closed its skies to all air travel, leaving thousands stranded worldwide as tensions with nuclear arch-rival India soared.

The decision to close the airspace came last Wednesday after a rare aerial dogfight between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir ignited fears of an all-out conflict, with world powers rushing to urge restraint.

Both sides claimed to have shot each other's warplanes down, and one Indian pilot was captured. He was returned to India Friday, crossing the Wagah border on foot.

“All airports across Pakistan are operational and airspace reopened,” a spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Authority told AFP on Monday, adding the process had been completed by 1:00 pm (0800 GMT).

The closure disrupted major routes between Europe and South Asia, with mounting frustration from passengers stranded at international airports.

It also delayed attempts to search for a British and an Italian climber who went missing on Nanga Parbat, Pakistan's “killer mountain” and the ninth highest peak in the world, as rescue teams were forced to wait for permission to send up a helicopter.

The climbers, Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard, were last heard from on February 24. Fresh rescue attempts had to be called off over the weekend due to bad weather amid growing fears for their survival.

Pakistan began reopening its airspace “gradually” from Friday, with flights allowed in and out of major cities.

But the backlog means major delays are still expected and authorities have urged passengers to check for more information with their airlines.

Opinion

Editorial

Noshki killings
Updated 14 Apr, 2024

Noshki killings

It must be asked why Baloch separatists continue to target civilians as well as security men despite large deployment.
Upholding the law
14 Apr, 2024

Upholding the law

THE recent discord in Bahawalnagar offers a chance to reflect on the sanctity of the law and its enforcement across...
Tragic travels
14 Apr, 2024

Tragic travels

FOR those embarking on road and boat journeys, the probability of fatal accidents has seen a steady rise. The recent...
Security lapses
Updated 13 Apr, 2024

Security lapses

Ensuring the safety of foreign citizens is paramount, not just for diplomatic relations but for our economic future.
An eventful season
13 Apr, 2024

An eventful season

THE Senate chairman and deputy chairman were elected unopposed, and 41 new senators were sworn in on Tuesday,...
Living rough
13 Apr, 2024

Living rough

WE either don’t see them or don’t want to see them — not even when they are actively trying to get our...