India on Friday announced that it would lift restrictions on its airspace along the Pakistan border which were imposed in February after a surge in hostilities between the neighbouring countries, Hindustan Times reported.
The country opened 11 entry and exit points but flights will only be able to use the airspace once Pakistan opens its airspace, a senior official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) told Hindustan Times.
“We have informed the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and now they will hold consultations with Pakistan. The day Pakistan decides to remove restrictions, flight operations will resume. This basically is a signal from India that we are willing to lift restrictions and that Pakistan should reciprocate,” an official told The Times of India.
An Indian Air Force (IAF) official stated that the temporary restrictions were in place on the direction of the air force.
Pakistan closed its airspace in February after a suicide bombing in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) sparked tensions between the neighbours which escalated to the point of a showdown in Balakot after India’s false claims of intimidating Pakistan.
Partial operations at Pakistani airports resumed after the crisis eased, but foreign carriers using Indian airspace could not fly over Pakistan.
Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor and the airspace restrictions impact hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.