On Tuesday Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reopened its airspace after a five-month closure forcing carriers to reroute flights around Pakistan. The closure occurred on 26 February in response to what India claimed as the second surgical strike.
Why Did the CAA Close Pakistan’s Airspace?
On 26 February Indian conducted a surgical airstrike on Pakistani occupied Kashmir stating it was targeting a terrorist camp run by Jaish e Muhammad. Who according to India was responsible for the Pulwama attack in Indian occupied Kashmir that occurred on 14 February in which multiple service members of the Indian armed forces personnel were killed.
Following the attack, Pakistan launched an air raid of its own in which it allegedly intended targeted military infrastructure but failed. In a dog fight that ensued afterward, Pakistan shot down on Indian jet and managed to capture one Indian pilot who was later set free as a peace gesture.
Pakistani Airspace Declared Open
India too suspended its air space along the western border close to Pakistan. In April Pakistan opened southern airspace allowing some commercial flights to pass through but kept the eastern airspace closed.
Last week Shahrukh Nusrat, the chairman of Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), stood in Pakistans parliament and said Pakistan would only open its airspace if India withdrew its fighters from the border region. On Tuesday spokesperson for Pakistan’s aviation authority confirmed that the country’s airspace is now open to all civil flights but refrained from commenting whether it was in response to India’s military posture.
Cost Indian Airlines Paid for Their Closure
On 3 July, Indian Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri while addressing the Indian parliament told that India had lost more than 80.1 million dollars as a result of the closure.
The carrier most affected by the closure is Indians national carrier Air India which lost about 71.65million so far. Other Indian carriers affected by the closure include Spice Jet which has lost 4.48 million dollars, IndiGo has lost 3.66 million dollars and GoAir which has lost 0.3 million dollars.