Pakistan airspace re-opens to commercial flights

first_imgClearing the airs — the impact immediately after Pakistan closed its airspace. Pakistan re-opened airspace to all civilian aircraft Tuesday, allowing airlines no longer forced to re-route aircraft to save time and money.Thousands of flights were delayed or canceled by the closure in February by Pakistan of its airspace for commercial flights after tensions escalated with India.The trigger was an Indian air strike against what it claimed was a terrorist training camp in Balakot.The attack, in retaliation for a suicide bombing in Kashmir that killed 40 Indian soldiers, prompted Pakistan to shoot down an Indian fighter jet and brought the two nations close to war.READ: Boeing says no plans to change name of 737 MAXPakistan said at the time it airports would only be used for “military purposes” until the airspace is reopened for commercial activities.Pakistan airspace lies directly in the path on the major air route between southern Asia and Europe and many flights are already at the limit of their range – particularly in the northern winter with stronger headwinds.Flights were diverted south of Pakistan across the Arabian Sea putting more pressure on the heavily used corridor and costing airlines tens of millions of dollars.Indian airlines were particularly hard hit and reportedly lost almost $US80m due to the closure.India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation tweeted: “After cancellation of NOTAMs by Pakistan and India in the early hours today, there are no restrictions on airspaces of both countries.“Flights have started using the closed air routes, bringing a significant relief to airlines.”With Pakistan’s airspace closed and tensions with Iran prompting warnings that airlines could be shot down, United Airlines announced this week it was extending the suspension of flights from the US to Delhi and Mumbai until October 26.Airlines have been more sensitive to flying over conflict zones since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was taken down by a Russian-made missile over Ukraine five years ago. .last_img

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