Pakistan extends airspace ban along eastern border

Published July 13, 2019
Pakistan had on Feb 26 fully closed its airspace following the violation of its international boundary and airspace by Indian fighter jets. — AP/File
Pakistan had on Feb 26 fully closed its airspace following the violation of its international boundary and airspace by Indian fighter jets. — AP/File

LAHORE: Pakistan on Friday again extended its partial airspace ban along its eastern border with India till July 26, says an official of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

“Airspace ban along its eastern border with India has been extended till July 26,” CAA spokesperson Nawaz Ahmed Sipra told Dawn. He said a notice to airmen (NOTAM) had been issued by the CAA.

Pakistan had on Feb 26 fully closed its airspace following the violation of its international boundary and airspace by Indian fighter jets. In March, it partially opened its airspace but kept it banned for the Indian flights. India had also banned its airspace for flights to Pakistan.

Earlier, Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat said: “The Indian government had asked us to open the airspace. We conveyed our concerns that first India must withdraw its fighter planes placed forward. We are ready to open our airspace if India de-escalates.”

The PIA operations for Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi have been suspended since Feb 26, causing it a loss of millions of rupees daily. The foreign airlines that were operating on these routes had to suspend their operations. Pakistani passengers now have to reach these destinations -- Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok -- by taking connecting flights from the Gulf.

The Indian aviation industry is facing much more losses than Pakistan’s. Besides Indian national and private airlines, many foreign airlines have to take longer routes to reach other destinations because of the ban on Pakistani airspace.

Fault delays flight

A PIA flight from Islamabad to Beijing and Tokyo could not reach its destination on time as the aircraft developed a fault when it landed in Beijing on Thursday.

Passengers were stranded in Beijing for some hours before the PIA claimed to have provided them hotel stay for Thursday night. “The aircraft developed fault and engineers there are fixing it. The passengers have been provided with hotel stay there and they would leave for Tokyo at 1pm on Friday and the same flight will return to Islamabad the same day,” PIA spokesman Mashhood Tajwar told Dawn.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2019

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