Pakistan restarting some flights, to fully reopen commercial airspace Monday

Pakistan restarting some flights, to fully reopen commercial airspace Monday

Thousands of passengers globally were left stranded when Pakistan closed its airspace amid soaring
Thousands of passengers globally were left stranded when Pakistan closed its airspace amid soaring tensions with India AFP/Lillian SUWANRUMPHA

ISLAMABAD: Four Pakistani airports will begin partial operations on Friday (Mar 1) with a full resumption of commercial flights on Monday, following their suspension after military tensions with India erupted earlier this week, the Civil Aviation Authority said.

A spokeswoman said Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta airports would begin some flights on Friday with the remainder opening next week.

"These four airports will resume flight operations partially today," she said.

She said airspace for all commercial flights would be reopened on monday at 1pm local time (4pm Singapore time).

READ: Commercial flights to and from Pakistan, India disrupted as tensions rise

READ: The India-Pakistan crisis - what we know

The decision to reopen Pakistani airspace came amid signs that the conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours was cooling with an Indian pilot shot down and captured by Pakistani forces this week due to be returned home on Friday.

The closure of Pakistan's airspace has disrupted not just the country's own air transport but also flights worldwide as airlines were forced to cancel or reroute flights to other destinations that pass over Pakistan.

This week flights between Asia and Europe were severely affected by the closure, with thousands of passengers stranded, although airlines were later able to reroute many flights through China that normally pass over Pakistan.

Thai Airways cancelled nearly 30 flights, affecting 5,000 passengers. It affected services to London, Munich, Paris, Brussels, Milan, Vienna, Stockholm, Zurich, Copenhagen and Oslo.

Singapore Airlines was also forced to divert Europe-bound flights to Mumbai and Dubai to refuel, while a flight to Frankfurt was cancelled.

READ: Thousands scramble as Thai Airways cancels flights over Pakistan

READ: SIA flights to Europe operating as scheduled, rerouted to avoid Pakistan airspace

Emirates, Qatar Airways, Saudi Airlines, and Air Canada were all also among other carriers forced to cancel and divert flights.

Pakistan's civil aviation authorities said they had allowed some flights to depart on Thursday.

They were an Emirates service from Peshawar to Dubai, an Air Arabia flight from Peshawar to Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE and a Qatar Airways flight from Peshawar to Doha.

Source: Reuters/jt

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