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Published on Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Pakistan re-opens air space to relief of international airlines

Pakistan has reopened its airspace to all civilian flights nearly five months after it was closed following a standoff with India.

The closure forced international airlines to re-route around Pakistan, costing them tens of millions of pounds in additional fuel.

India's aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri has claimed that Air India, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir alone have lost £63 million as a result of the closures.

Pakistan shut its airspace in February after India carried out an air strike against what it claimed was a terrorist training camp in Pakistani territory.

The attack in Balakot was in retaliation for a suicide bombing by Pakistani militants in in Indian-administered Kashmir, in which more than 40 Indian soldiers were killed.

Pakistan responded by shooting down an Indian fighter jet.

Flights via Pakistan, which is on a key aviation corridor between Europe and Asia, were cancelled and other flights have had to be rerouted since the air space closure.

In March, Pakistan partially opened its airspace but not for flights into and out of India. However, today the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority website carried a notice which said: "With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes."

India's aviation ministry said there were no further restrictions on airspace in either country.

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