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Pakistan denies airspace to Srinagar- Sharjah Flight, India makes a request

On November 2, Pakistan refused to allow the Srinagar-Sharjah flight to access its airspace, forcing it to take a longer route through Gujarat to reach its destination in the UAE. This decision accompanies the direct repercussion of increasing flight distance, hence its price.

On October 23, Go First, formerly GoAir, commenced direct flights between Srinagar and Sharjah, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurating the service during his visit to the Valley last month. God has created heaven in Kashmir, he added in a statement to PTI, but the administration wants peace, prosperity, and progress there as well. He was adamant about enlisting the help of Kashmir's young people. The administration extended a hand of friendship, resulting in the formation of youth groups and the provision of a platform and an opportunity for the people.

Pakistani officials allegedly granted GoFirst flights to fly the Srinagar-Sharjah sector on the 23rd, 24th, 26th, and 28th of October, according to a source for The Hindu. 

However, lately, Pakistan put the flight's certification on hold from October 31 to November 30 according to sources. In the interest of the general public who have purchased tickets on this route, India has asked Pakistan to grant overflight clearance for this flight, according to the source. 

What does Pakistan have to say about it? 

In the meantime, Pakistan has refused GoFirst access to its airspace, preventing it from flying from Kashmir to the United Arab Emirates.

At the weekly media briefing in Islamabad on November 4, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed was questioned whether the Foreign Office was taken into consideration when Pakistan approved these (Srinagar-Sharjah) flights and when these licenses were revoked.

There has not been any substantial rationale put forward by Pakistan as of now. The spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said that presently the over-flight authorization for the Srinagar-Sharjah flight has been denied and all technical information is to be provided by the Civil Aviation Authority.

He hinted towards the longstanding dispute on Kashmir and said "There are other aspects to this issue, and the proper authorities are well aware of them. Kashmir remains on the UN Security Council's agenda as a long-standing conflict, seeking resolution and final disposition in conformity with UNSC resolutions.”


The first service took 3 hours and 40 minutes, with the plane flying into Pakistani airspace, over Lahore, southwest into Iranian airspace, and landing in Sharjah. The aeroplane took off from Srinagar on Tuesday, passing through Rajasthan and Gujarat before going west to enter UAE airspace via Oman. As a result, the flight took 4 hours and 20 minutes to complete.

According to data from the flight-tracking website Flightradar24, other aircraft from India to West Asia and Europe continue to use Pakistani airspace. It's the first flight link between J&K and the UAE since 2009 when an Air India Express service between Srinagar and Dubai was shut down owing to low demand after only a few months. Pakistan also imposed limits on that flight's use of its airspace.

Omar Abdullah, the leader of the National Conference, said on November 3 that Pakistan's decision was "extremely sad." On Twitter, he stated, "Pakistan did the same thing with the Air India Express flight from Srinagar to Dubai in 2009-2010." "I had hoped that GoFirst being allowed to fly across Pakistani airspace would signal a warming of relations, but alas, it was not to be."

The airline is now taking a longer route to Dubai, passing through Rajasthan and Gujarat until further clarification from Pakistan.

What can a country do in such a case?

The Chicago Convention, which took place in 1944, established guidelines for use of another country's airspace, as well as overflight and landing clearances. 

According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), based in Montreal, every state has the unilateral and absolute right to allow or deny entry into the area recognized as its territory, as well as the right to control all movements within that territory, to the exclusion of other states.

That is to say, it is fully up to the territory or country in question to grant or deny authorization for the use of its airspace, as stated in the Chicago Convention, which states that "every state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory." 

The International Air Services Transit Agreement (IASTA), according to the ICAO, relieves signatory countries of the need to request an overflight clearance permit and mandates that "each contracting state shall grant other contracting states the privilege of flying across its territory and; landing for non-traffic purposes." Both India and Pakistan are IASTA signatories.

Following Pakistan's refusal of overflight to the GoFirst flight, sources claim that India has raised the issue with Pakistan via diplomatic channels, requesting that the flight be permitted to resume its original route in the public interest.


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Tags: #GoFirst #Indo-Pak #BilateralRelations #Srinagar-Sharjah


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