Pakistan’s eastern airspace closure on Indian border extended to mid-June

- A Monitor Desk Report 30 May, 2019 | 3428 Views|-+
Dhaka: Pakistan has extended the airspace closure on its eastern border with India to June 14 following a stand-off between the two countries, a Pakistani Civil Aviation official announced on May 29.

The closure originated in February after India retaliated in response to Pakistan’s deadly terror attack on a convoy in Jammu and Kashmir which resulted in the deaths of 40 Indian soldiers. India sent fighter planes to destroy terror camps at Balakot in Pakistan.

Due to the airspace closure, foreign carriers using Indian airspace have been forced to take costly detours since they cannot fly over Pakistan, affecting flights from Europe to Southeast Asia, mainly.

"The closure will continue until June 14," a spokesperson for Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority said, without giving further details.

Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor and the airspace restrictions impact hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, increasing flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.

Owing to the flight ban on its airspace by India, Pakistan has suspended its operation for Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur which is causing a loss of millions of rupees per day.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) used to operate four flights to Kuala Lumpur, two to Bangkok and two to New Delhi.

A senior PIA official recently said that the national flag carrier's loss is running into billions of rupees because of suspension of the flights especially to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

Pakistan in mid-April had opened one of its 11 air routes for west-bound flights from India and airlines such as Air India and Turkish Airlines have started using it.

The operating cost for Air India, which flies to destinations in Europe and the US, reportedly has increased significantly as it had to take longer routes due to closure of Pakistan airspace.

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