Pakistan on Wednesday extended the ban on the use of its airspace for all transit flights from May 30 to June 15, according to a notice to airmen, or a NOTAM, issued earlier in the day. The ban has been in place since February 26, when India targetted a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot in Pakistan.
The earlier NOTAM had said that the ban will continue till May 30 as Islamabad was waiting for the results of the Lok Sabha elections in India.
The decision to close the airspace has led to flight cancellations, delays and soaring ticket prices as Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor.
Foreign carriers using Indian airspace have been been forced to take costly detours because they cannot fly over Pakistan and this mainly affects flights from Europe to Southeast Asia. National carrier Air India has also seen a daily loss of Rs 5-7 crore due to the added fuel costs and longer routes, according to The Hindu.
Relations between India and Pakistan nosedived after militants belonging to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit killed 40 security personnel in Pulwama on February 14. India retaliated by targeting a Jaish camp in Balakot in Pakistan with airstrikes. The airstrikes were described by the Indian government as a “non-military preemptive action”.