Pakistan has reopened its airspace for all civil traffic, including Indian flights, nearly five months after it was closed following escalating tensions with neighbouring India earlier this year.
“With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes,” according to a notice to airmen (NOTAMS) on the authority’s website.
Pakistan had closed its airspace for all domestic and international flights on February 27, a day after Indian fighter jets violated Pakistani airspace. A day later, Pakistan shot down two Indian jets over Kashmir and a pilot was also captured. However, he was released by Pakistan as a “gesture of peace”.
Many airports were gradually opened but flights over Pakistan airspace were not allowed causing major disruption to flight operations for foreign airlines. Indian commercial flights were affected the most by it. It was reported that around 70% of the routes taken by commercial Indian planes used Pakistani airspace and every flight faces a delay of two hours due to the restriction.
On June 12, Pakistan had granted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plane permission to cross Pakistani airspace for his official trip to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Bishkek. A request was sent by the Indian government, asking the Pakistani government to allow the premier’s plane to cross through its airspace. However, he did not use that route.