As part of its support to civil aviation sector which is witnessing a massive growth, Indian Air Force has opened up five international air routes for civilian overflights and has offered all its airfields for joint use, Air Chief Fali Homi Major has said.
"The IAF has accorded its clearance for five international ATS (air traffic service) routes to pass through its area of operations so that they are shortened, which will result in saving time and fuel," he said.
"Keeping in line with the 'open sky policy', not only have all IAF airfields been offered for joint civil-military use, but watch hours at some have been extended beyond normal timings to meet the demands of scheduled civil flights," he said in an interview in the forthcoming issue of 'Indian Defence Review'.
Currently, there were 19 IAF airfields from where scheduled civil flights operate. "We do understand that expansion of the civil aviation sector is a must for our nation's progress and we are extending all assistance in this regard," Air Chief Marshal Major said.
Maintaining that IAF was gradually progressing towards "more intense and complex air operations", he said the air force had initiated the concept of 'flexible use of airspace' and had taken it up with the civil aviation authorities for its consideration and implementation.