Pakistan has decided to extend its partial airspace ban for flights to India until May 30th as no headway could be achieved at the bilateral level in this regard.
Flights using Indian airspace are also not welcome to enter Pakistan. On Wednesday, the government reviewed the airspace ban for Indian flights and decided to extend it till the current month’s end.
Following the decision, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), intimating the pilots about the flight/route guidelines till May 30.
“The government will again review the matter on May 30,” said a CAA official.
Pakistan closed its airspace on Feb 26 when the tensions between the two countries grew sharply. In March, it partially opened the airspace but kept it closed for Indian flights.
India did the same for flights to Pakistan. According to an official, over two and a half months have passed, but there is no headway in lifting the ban on either side of the border. Furthermore, no backchannel diplomacy has been used to break the impasse that is causing drastic losses to both countries’ flag carriers and foreign airlines.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has suspended its operations for Bangkok, New Delhi, and Kuala Lumpur since February 26, suffering a loss of millions of rupees per day. Air India’s operating cost has increased manifold because it has to take longer routes to reach its destinations.
According to an India daily, the India flag carrier suffered a loss of Rs. 300 crore (Indian) by the end of last month.