Pakistan Won’t Open Airspace Until India Withdraws Fighter Jets
Pakistan has told India that it will not open its airspace for commercial flights until New Delhi removes its fighter jets from forward IAF airbases, Pakistan's Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat has informed a parliamentary committee.
Aviation Secretary Nusrat, who is also the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), on Thursday informed the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation that his department has intimated Indian officials that Pakistani airspace would remain unavailable for use by India until the country withdraws its fighter jets from forward positions, Dawn News reported.
"The Indian government approached asking us to open the airspace. We conveyed our concerns that first India must withdraw its fighter planes placed forward," Nusrat told the committee.
He further apprised the committee that Indian officials have contacted Pakistan requesting it to lift the airspace restrictions.
After the restrictions, all the passenger flights are being diverted to alternative routes by India, The Express Tribune reported.
The CAA official also contested India's claim that Delhi had opened its airspace for Pakistan, the report said.
"Pakistani flights from Thailand have not been restored since the closure of the Indian airspace. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights for Malaysia also remain suspended," the CAA DG informed the committee.
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 21 May.
India aviation industry has suffered huge losses due to the airspace ban by Pakistan.
On Thursday, 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.
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