Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has issued a new NOTAM partially opening Gilgit and Skardu airports from 24 March 2019. At the same time, the Pakistani airspace will remain closed for overflights till 29 March 2019 when the CAA will review the situation. Up till now Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan, Gawadar, Panjgur, Dalbandin and Chitral airports are open for flights.
On the other hand, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) has suffered a loss of Rs1.16 billion since the closure of airspace for overflying from Pakistan’s eastern to western air corridors.
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- Air Sial’s 4th Airbus A320 lands at Karachi Airport
- British Airways resuming its Islamabad-London flights from 2nd August
- Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore’s main runway is opened for flight operations after 2 years
- Another Indian plane this time IndiGo ends up landing in Karachi
Although the southern and northern air routes have been reopened the PCAA collects maximum overflight charges from eastern to western air corridor.
On average CAA generates around Rs. 35 billion per annum on account of overflight charges or fees, of which 60 per cent revenue comes from eastern to western air corridor.
International airlines like Thai, Srilankan and Malindo air have suspended their flights or only operating increased capacity to Karachi airport due to the airspace closure. Most of the airlines have started passing on the additional costs to passengers and that is seen in increased prices of tickets. On the other hand low cost airlines like Malindo has offered no respite to its passengers and the affected passengers continue to suffer.
The PCAA spokesman did not confirm this information stating that he was not authorized to comment on it.
Pakistan International Airline (PIA) is being hit harder as its flights to Kuala Lumpur and to Bangkok are not operational and at the same time many domestic flights to Sukkur, Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Sialkot, Dera Ghazi Khan have been suspended. PIA, Airblue and Serene are also absorbing the additional operational cost of increased flights duration after airspace restriction.