Pak Opens Air Space After Nearly 5 Months of Closure

Issue: 07-2019By Ayushee Chaudhary

Pakistan has re-opened its airspace after the closure of around five months for all civilian traffic on July 16. This step comes as a removal of the ban that was imposed on Indian flights, not allowing them to use the majority of Pakistan’s airspace since the renowned Balakot air strikes.

On February 26, Pakistan had entirely closed its airspace. This was after the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried a daring predawn airstrike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot on the same date. Since the IAF’s airstrike, of the total 11 routes, Pakistan had only opened two routes passing through the southern region of the neighboring country. However, the ban laid down by Pakistan along its eastern border with India was continued. It was on July 16 that Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) stating that “with immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes”.

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan disclosed on July 18 that PCAA has suffered a loss of 8.5 billion, owing to air space restrictions since February 2019 in the wake of Indian transgress; but this closure hit Indian Aviation drastically hard as compared to Pakistan; he apprised the loss margin of India as almost double.

Indian airlines were majorly affected too due to the airspace closure that led to increased flight time for passengers as well as huge fuel costs for the airlines.