IAF removes post-Balakot restrictions on the Indian airspace
New Delhi, June 01: The Indian Air Force lifted temporary restrictions that were imposed on the Indian airspace since February 27 in the aftermath of the Balakot strikes.
The move comes immediately after Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his second term in office. It is also being viewed as a gesture to allow flights from Pakistan to overfly and thus reduce the distance to Indian as well as South Asian destinations.
"Temporary restrictions on all air routes in the Indian airspace, imposed by the Indian Air Force on 27 Feb 19, have been removed," the IAF tweeted on Friday.
Closure of airspace caused inconvenience to flyers and affected flights from Europe to South Asia. Flights from the US and Europe to New Delhi were worst affected as they were compelled to take longer routes to reach destinations.
"It has been more than two-and-a-half-months but there is no progress in the lifting of the ban either by Pakistan or India. It is surprising that no back-channel diplomacy is used to show flexibility on this matter that is causing huge losses to both Indian and Pakistani flag carriers as well as foreign airlines," a Pakistani official was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
According to the PTI report, before the airspace ban by India, PIA operated four flights to Kuala Lumpur, two to Bangkok and two to New Delhi per week. Similarly, the foreign airlines who were operating on these routes had to suspend their operations. With Indian airspace opening, the flights may be able to resume their original, shorter routes.