Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan has lifted all airspace restrictions for civilian flights, reopening a key transit air corridor over its territory almost five months after closing it in the wake of a military standoff with its eastern neighbour, India.
“With immediate effect, Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published [Air Traffic Service] routes,” the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said late on Monday.
Pakistan closed its airspace for all civilian traffic after India carried out air raids on Pakistani territory on February 26, following a suicide attack in the Indian-administered Kashmir town of Pulwama earlier that month. India blamed Pakistan for the February 14 suicide bombing, a charge the latter denied.
Pakistan carried out its own retaliatory strikes on targets in Indian-administered Kashmir on February 27, with an ensuing dogfight seeing at least one Indian fighter jet shot down. Tensions defused slightly when Pakistan returned the Indian air force pilot who was shot down two days later, but both countries’ military forces remained on high alert.
India had also briefly suspended air traffic at eight airports at the time, mostly near its western border. Pakistan eased some air restrictions in April, but air traffic flying through India was still barred from using major air routes.
On Tuesday, flight-tracking service Flightradar24 showed several flights had begun to use the newly reopened routes over Pakistan.