Pakistan to Continue Ban on Indian Flights Till May 30 Due to Counting of Votes for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 in India
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Islamabad, May 16: Pakistan has decided to continue its ban on Indian flights from using its airspace till the end of this month. With the new order in place, Pakistani airspace will remain shut for Indian flights till May 30 in wake of the counting of votes for Lok Sabha Elections in India. After the Indian Air Force strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot on February 26, Pakistan had fully closed its airspace. However, Pakistan had opened its airspace for all flights except for New Delhi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur on March 27. According to reports, Pakistan on Wednesday decided not to lift its airspace ban for Indian flights, as the nation is awaiting the outcome of the 2019 polls in India. India-Pakistan Tensions: Pakistani Airspace to Remain Closed Till March 11. 

A senior government official was quoted by PTI saying that the top officials of defence and aviation ministries held a meeting on Wednesday to reconsider opening its airspace for Indian flights. “They decided that Pakistan’s airspace will remain banned for the Indian flights till May 30,” a senior government official told PTI after the meeting.

The official added saying that the Civil Aviation Authority has issued a notification after the meeting to pilots, advising them of circumstances relating to the state of flying. According to a report by PTI, Pakistan’s science and technology minister Fawad Chaudhry early this week said the status quo will remain till the conclusion of elections in India. How the Closure of India and Pakistan's Air Space Impacted Flights Around the World.

“Status quo will remain till the elections are over in India. I don’t see any improvement in relations between Pakistan and India till the elections are over and a new government is installed. The ban on airspace by each other I think will also continue till Indian polls,” Chaudhry was quoted by PTI.

In the wake of the flight ban on its airspace by India, Pakistan has suspended its operation for Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur which is causing a loss of millions of rupees per day. Moreover, a senior PIA official told PTI that the national flag carrier’s loss is running into billions of rupees because of suspension of the flights especially to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

“We are not only facing the huge financial loss but also losing our passengers to other airlines,” he said. “If land and rail routes are operational between Pakistan and India, what’s wrong with the air route,” the official questioned. In mid-April, Pakistan had opened one of its 11 air routes for west-bound flights from India and airlines such as Air India and Turkish Airlines have started using it. The operating cost for Air India reportedly has increased significantly as it had to take longer routes due to closure of Pakistan airspace.