NEW DELHI, July 16:
In a big relief to Indian and international airlines, Pakistan today opened its airspace for all civilian air traffic, lifting nearly five-month-long ban that was imposed after the Balakote air strikes.
The move will give relief to international airlines as well as Air India, which suffered a huge financial loss of around Rs 491 crore as it had to re-route its various international flights due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace.
Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) at around 12.41 am Indian Standard Time, stating that “with immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes”.
After lifting of the ban, Air India flights AI 184 as well as AI 784 –coming from San Francisco– were among the first flights by an Indian carrier to pass through Pakistan airspace today.
“The pilot on AI 184 came to know about the opening of Pakistan airspace while en-route from San Francisco. The flight landed in Delhi at around 7 am in the morning,” an Air India official said.
Welcoming Pakistan’s decision, Air India said its operation costs for one-way US and Europe-bound flights are likely to come down by Rs 20 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, respectively while IndiGo, India’s largest airline by domestic market share, stated that it is “pleased” with the opening of Pakistan airspace and its flights flying via Pakistan “will operate as normal after all regulatory clearances”.
Following Pakistan’s move, India also issued a “revised NOTAM”, announcing that normal air traffic operations have resumed between the two countries.
“Consequent to Pakistan issuing NOTAM to lift all airspace restrictions, relevant authorities have informed that 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,” a Government source said. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, July 16: