Pakistan Airspace Restrictions

Pakistan has continued a limited opening of its airspace for commercial flights, at the height of tensions with neighboring India that saw both countries carry out air raids inside each other’s territories for the first time since the 1971 war.

According to the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) published by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Tuesday, April 19, the general closure of the country’s airspace to international transit flights remains in effect until at least 15:00 (local time) on Wednesday, May 15.

For overflights, there are a number of routes available connecting China and Iran, and a few which connect Oman and India through Pakistan’s airspace over the Gulf of Oman. But there’s only one route available for flights connecting India and Iran – airway P518.

India and Oman remain congested with a lot of flights re-routing around Pakistan airspace. Both countries have published NOTAM’s showing all the restrictions on the various different overflight routes, are advising operators to carry extra fuel, and to expect lower flights levels than requested. India is advising that flights to Europe from all southern Indian airports can use oceanic airway N571.

There are reports of lengthy detours assigned by ATC (30 min to 50 min) for flights through Indian airspace, due to congestion caused by the Pakistan airspace restrictions. The airway closures are not mentioned in any NOTAM, and no objection raised by ATC when the FPLs are filed. Additional fuel is highly recommended for this operation.

Written by: Kevin Singh

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