In tit-for-tat move for India, Pakistan is closing airspace over Karachi and Lahore for Indian flights citing operational reasons.

Starting October 8, airspace over Karachi and Lahore will remain closed for 18 hours a day, for 13 days, a notice issued by Pakistan said. The reason for putting lower level airspace out of bounds must be because Pakistan military jets are doing their manoeuvres and exercises, said a senior international route planner at an Indian airline.

Since almost all Indian carriers flying from north/west/east India to the west/Gulf fly over Pakistan, they have had to work out alternative routes. “If we are asked not to fly over Pakistan, these flights 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,” said a source.
Indian authorities contemplated taking the other route of flying straight over J&K, then flying into Chinese airspace and then turning left to the West. However, unsure of whether China will cooperate, the authorities have decided to stick to Ahmedabad-Gulf. This is the third air restriction Pakistan has imposed following the Uri attack.

“These tactics are directed at India. While Karachi was very close to the Rajasthan and Gujarat border, Lahore is close to J&K and Punjab,” he said. The PMO is reviewing continuation of air ties with Pakistan, including whether Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) can be allowed to fly to/over India ( no Indian carrier flies to Pakistan+ ).

The restrictions over Karachi and now Lahore airspace mean that Pakistan is undertaking air exercises as tensions with India mount,” said another senior commander.
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