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Longer flights to continue as Pakistan extends airspace restrictions

Pakistan imposed the restrictions after the Indian Air Force carried out air strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) facility in Balakot on February 26.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2019 14:36 IST
IMTIAZ AHMAD
IMTIAZ AHMAD
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan Air Space,Pulwama terror strike,Indian flights take detour
Most airlines are still forced to take costly detours I(HT Photo)

Flights from India to Europe and the US will continue to be longer after Pakistan extended the restrictions on its airspace for flights to and from India until June 28.

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had earlier extended the airspace restrictions until June 15.

Pakistan imposed the restrictions after the Indian Air Force carried out air strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) facility in Balakot on February 26.

The air strikes were carried out in response to the suicide attack in Pulwama that killed 40 CRPF troopers on February 14. JeM had claimed responsibility for Pulwama attack.

Since the latest round of India-Pakistan tensions, Islamabad has only opened two air routes out of 11, both passing through southern Pakistan. Most airlines are still forced to take costly detours. The closure mainly affects flights from Europe to Southeast Asia.

A Pakistan government official told PTI that since there has been no official communication between the two countries regarding opening of their airspace, the “status quo” will prevail. “See if some development takes place at the government’s level in this respect before June 28,” he said.

Last Wednesday Pakistan granted permission to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight to use its airspace for his official trip to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. However, Modi’s VVIP aircraft avoided flying over Pakistan.

Earlier, Pakistan had allowed India’s former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to fly through its airspace to the SCO foreign ministers meeting in Bishkek on May 21.

First Published: Jun 17, 2019 14:35 IST