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17 Jan 2022, Edition - 2379, Monday

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IAF lifts post-Balakot temporary restrictions on Indian airspace



Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his second term in office, temporary restrictions imposed on all air routes after the Balakot air strikes have now been lifted, the Indian Air Force said. “Temporary restrictions on all air routes in the Indian airspace, imposed by the Indian Air Force on 27 Feb 19, have been removed,” the IAF tweeted.

The closure of the air space had mainly affected flights from Europe to Southeast Asia, as the foreign carriers operating on these routes had to suspend their operations or were forced to take costly detours because they could not fly over Pakistan. Additionally, the flights coming from the US and Europe to New Delhi were severely affected due to the closure of the air space.

Pakistan lying in the middle of a vital aviation corridor has further led to extended flight timings for passengers and additional fuel costs for airlines. After the IAF decision, foreign airlines may resume their original, shorter routes.

The restrictions were imposed as tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian Air Force attacked a JeM terrorist training camp in Balakot of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.

On May 12, Pakistan had extended the ban on India using its airspace for commercial flights till June 14. The country had fully closed its airspace after the Balakot airstrikes, which were carried out in response to the Pulwama terror attack.

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