Etihad Airways' flight EY224 from Abu Dhabi reportedly flew through Pakistani airspace en route to New Delhi on Sunday, June 2. EY224 was the first flight to cross into India from Pakistan since the mutual imposition of airspace restrictions between the two countries after the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted airstrikes on a suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) camp near Balakot (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province) on February 26. The flight came after India withdrew restrictions on its airspace along the Indian-Pakistani border on Friday, May 31, opening 11 entry and exit points pending the reciprocal easing of Pakistani airspace restrictions; Pakistan, in response, opened one flight route in its territory near Lakhpat (Gujarat state, India) for India-bound flights from 17:30 (local time) on Sunday, June 2.
Despite the apparent de-escalation in tensions, disruptions on flights originating from India or transiting through Indian airspace and seeking to fly through Pakistani airspace are possible through June 14, after which Pakistan's effective airspace ban on such flights expires. Further extensions to airspace restrictions are possible in the coming weeks, particularly if tensions escalate between Pakistan and India.
Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) closed the country's 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 claimed responsibility for a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack in Pulwama district (Jammu and Kashmir state) on February 14, which killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary officers. India has accused Pakistan of supporting the assailants. 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 in the region along affected routes are advised to monitor the situation, maintain flexible itineraries, and contact their airlines for more information.
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