On Tuesday morning, the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority released a statement, saying it had issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) just after midnight on Tuesday, that opens the Pakistani airspace for “all types of civilian traffic.” The order is applicable “with immediate effect.”
India has reportedly responded in kind, resuming the flights shortly after Pakistan’s announcement.
“Airlines likely to resume normal routes through Pakistan airspace,” a senior official with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) confirmed, telling the Economic Times that the airlines have already been given a go-ahead.
Aerial transportation between the two neighbors practically came to a standstill after a bitter standoff in February this year that saw fierce aerial combat over the contested area of Kashmir, following Indian airstrikes on alleged positions of the Jaish-e-Mohammed group, which had killed 44 Indian police officers. Pakistan retaliated, shooting down an Indian jet and capturing a pilot, who went on to became a national hero in India upon his release. Sporadic cross-border violence continued as tensions soared, stoking fears of an all-out war between the two nuclear powers.
Govt sources:Consequent to Pak issuing NOTAM to lift airspace restrictions, relevant authorities have informed that India has also issued revised NOTAM immediately thereafter.With this,normal air traffic operations have resumed through all Flight Information Regions b/w India&Pak pic.twitter.com/3crg3JjEE2
— ANI (@ANI) July 16, 2019
In the aftermath of the incident, Pakistan shut down its airspace completely in February. The disruption of civil aviation traffic led to flight time increases of up to 90 minutes that caused major losses to Indian and international carriers.
As the tensions between the countries subsided, Pakistan began gradually easing the restrictions. It opened a route for west-bound flights from India in April, and last month, the first New Delhi-bound flight from Abu Dhabi cut through Pakistani airspace. In return, India pledged to open 11 points of entry along its own border.
(Source: Russia Today)