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Pakistan reopens airspace for civil aviation after nearly five months

Pakistan’s airspace has been reopened to civil aviation with immediate effect, the Civil Aviation Authority said on Tuesday, following months of restrictions imposed in the wake of a standoff with India earlier this year.

“With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes,” according to a notice to airmen (NOTAMS) published on the authority’s website.

An official at the authority, reached by telephone, confirmed that the change was in effect.

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace following the violation of its international boundary and airspace by Indian fighter jets on February 26. In March, it partially opened  its airspace but kept it banned for the Indian flights. India had also banned its airspace for flights to Pakistan.

Earlier, Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat said: “The Indian government had asked us to open the airspace. We conveyed our concerns that first India must withdraw its fighter planes placed forward. We are ready to open our airspace if India de-escalates.”

Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor and the airspace restrictions affected hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding to flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.

The announcement came hours after United Airlines Holdings Inc said it was extending the suspension of its flights from the United States to Delhi and Mumbai in India until October 26, citing continued restrictions of Pakistani airspace.

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