On Thursday, March 21, Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) extended the general closure of the country's airspace to international transit flights until at least 15:00 (local time) on Friday, March 22. According to the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) published by CAA on Thursday, flight operations are active, subject to restrictions, at Jinnah International Airport (KHI), Peshawar International Airport (PEW), Quetta International Airport (UET), and Islamabad International Airport (ISB). Although flight operations in Pakistan are gradually resuming at airports across the country, disruptions - including cancelations, delays, overbookings, and crowded conditions - are expected to persist over the coming days. An extension of the airspace closure is possible should tensions between India and Pakistan escalate.
The CAA closed Pakistani airspace on February 27 after a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jet was shot down above Pakistan-controlled Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Tensions significantly escalated between India and Pakistan after the IAF conducted airstrikes on a suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) camp near Balakot (Pakistan) on February 26. JeM recently claimed responsibility for a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack in Pulwama district (Jammu and Kashmir state) on February 14, killing at least 40 Indian paramilitary officers. India has accused Pakistan of supporting the attackers. The Indian airstrikes initiated a series of retaliatory airstrikes and artillery fire near the Line of Control (LoC).
India and Pakistan both claim sovereignty over Kashmir, which has been the focus of periodic violent conflict since 1947.
Individuals traveling via Pakistan are advised to monitor the situation, maintain flexible itineraries, and contact their airlines for more information.
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