July 16, 2019: Nearly five months after closing its airspace, Pakistan has reopened it for all civilian air traffic. The move comes as a huge relief for Indian airlines, especially national airline Air India that suffered massive financial loss to the tune of Rs491 crore as it had to re-route its international flights as Pakistani airspace was shut.
According to a Notice to Airmen (Notam) published on the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority's website: "With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes."
Pakistan had shut its airspace in February after India carried out an air strike in Balakot against a suspected terrorist training camp in Pakistani territory. Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force (IAF) struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot in retaliation to the Pulwama attack on February 14. Since then, the neighbouring country had only opened two routes, both of them passing through the southern region, of the total 11.
“Pakistan has permitted all airlines to fly through its airspace from around 12.41am today. Indian airline operators will start using normal routes through Pakistan airspace soon," India's civil aviation authority said.
It also tweeted:
After cancellation of NOTAMS by Pakistan and India in the early hours today , there are no restrictions on airspaces of both countries, flights have started using the closed air routes, bringing a significant relief for airlines. @AAI_Official @airindiain @HardeepSPuri— Ministry of Civil Aviation (@MoCA_GoI) July 16, 2019