Amid rising tensions with India, Pakistan has barred low flying aircraft over almost its entire airspace.
Pakistan had issued a notice to airmen (Notam) that that some segments of international air traffic services “routes within Karachi flight information region (FIR)” will not be available from surface to 33,000 feet (flight level) due to “operational reasons”.
This means that aircraft flying between Gulf and central and northeast India will have to maintain flight levels of at least 33,000 feet in the Karachi airspace and FIR.
As per an expert, the restricted airspace availability could delay flights to the west/Gulf which fly over Pakistan.
According to experts, putting lower level airspace out of bounds could be because of Pakistan military jets doing their manoeuvres and exercises.
Since almost all Indian carriers flying from north/west/east India to the west/Gulf fly over Pakistan, they have had to now work out alternative routes.
If these flights were not able to fly over Pakistan, then will go to Ahmedabad, fly over the Arabian Sea, proceed to Muscat airspace and then either go to the Gulf or fly westwards to Europe or North America.
It was not the first time that Pakistan has imposed these restrictions as during the 1999 Kargil war, Indian aircraft had stopped overflying Pakistan and were taking longer detours on their flights to and from west and the Gulf.