Pakistan News

Closure of eastern airspace extended

Closure of eastern airspace extended

RAWALPINDI: The country’s eastern airspace will remain closed till 3pm on Saturday (today), according to the Civil Aviation Authority. The CAA had earlier notified that all airports would resume operations by 4.30pm on Friday.

A senior CAA official said flight operations from airports in the country’s east will resume only after the authorities concerned gave clearance.

Flight operations at seven airports, including Sialkot and Bahawalpur, have remained suspended for the past 10 days.

Due to closure of the eastern airspace, the flight schedule stands disrupted, causing inconvenience to air travellers and increasing the operational cost for airlines both on domestic as well as international routes.

According to an official, Sialkot, Bahawalpur, Rahim­yar Khan, D.G. Khan, Sukkur, Skardu and Gilgit airports have not been made operational so far due to security concerns. However, 11 other airports, Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Pesh­awar, Quetta, Faisalabad and Multan among them, have been made operational.

Since flights out of these airports have been taking a restricted route, the duration and distance have shot up. This has pushed up the operational costs for airlines, the official said. The country’s airspace remained closed from 12.30pm on Feb 27 to 5pm on March 1 due to the recent tensions with India.

Flight operations resu­med at four major airports on March 1, but on restricted air routes, after a closure lasting 54 hours.

Later, flight operations from Lahore, Faisalabad and then from Multan, Chitral, Punjgur, Turbat and Gwadar airports resumed on March 6 after remaining suspended for seven days.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2019

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