Pakistan on Tuesday removed ban on Indian flights and opened its airspace for civilian traffic. Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) at around 12.41 am Indian Standard Time, stating that "with immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes",” according to news agency PTI. Since Balakot airstrike in February, Indian flights were not allowed to fly over Pakistan airspace.
"Pakistan has permitted all airlines to fly through its airspace from around 12.41 am today. Indian airline operators will start using normal routes through Pakistan airspace soon," PTI reported.
Last month, Pakistan gave special permission to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's VVIP flight to use its airspace for his official trip to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. However Prime Minister Modi's VVIP aircraft avoided flying over Pakistan. Earlier, Pakistan had allowed India's former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to fly directly though Pakistani airspace to participate in the meeting of SCO foreign ministers in Bishkek on May 21.
India aviation industry has suffered huge losses due to the airspace ban by Pakistan. Earlier, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told Parliament that due to the closure of Pakistan airspace, Air India had to spend an extra Rs 430 crore on longer routes.
Post the air strike, Air India had to re-route, merge or suspend many of its international flights that connect India with European and US cities.
IndiGo, India’s largest airline by domestic market share, was unable to start direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace.
The low-cost carrier started the Delhi-Istanbul flight in March. Till date, this IndiGo flight had to take the longer route over the Arabian Sea and make a stop at Doha in Qatar for refuelling.