The amendment to the Indian constitution on August 6 that revoked special autonomy status to Muslim-dominated Kashmir has raised tensions between India and Pakistan and appears likely to lead to the closure of Pakistani airspace once again. Pakistan’s airspace closure from February to mid-July had caused major losses to both nations in overflying revenues. Now, airlines have begun plans to again reroute flights over Pakistan to and from India.
“Flights may be flying, but they may not be taking the optimum route,” an Indian safety official said. The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority told AIN that it “will inform as and when such a decision is made.”
Meanwhile, following a security committee meeting led by Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, Pakistan said it plans to downgrade its diplomatic relationship and suspend bilateral trade with India. Pakistani minister for aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said last month that the CAA suffered a loss of $50 million because of the airspace restrictions. India lost around $83 million. Closure of airspace affected not just SpiceJet and Air India flying to Kabul, but exports from India fell by 30 percent. Airlines such as Air Astana temporarily withdrew all services.