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Air space ban forces
Pak-India planes to use water corridors to fly passengers
29 (Internews): It's ironic how air carriers of India
and Pakistan will have to take the water corridors to fly their
passengers in the wake of the bans on each country flying their aircraft
in the other's air space.
The national flag carriers of both - Air India and Pakistan
International Airlines - will have to use the international waters to
reach their destinations as an alternative flight-path option, aviation
sources said here Saturday.
They say a study about the maximum authorisation available both
countries in utilisation of the international waters for flying purposes
has become a much-debated issue among aviation experts, who opine that
the decision will cause financial losses to both countries.
India banned PIA overflight rights over its air space last week, which
prompted Pakistan banning Indian planes from using Pakistani airspace
from January 1.
Aviation experts in Karachi say that the Indian decision is astonishing
since no airline in either country can afford the financial losses
accruing from a ban on using each other's air space.
"India has violated the International Charter of Civil Aviation just to
create financial problems for Pakistan," said one airline executive,
requesting that he not be named. "PIA will have to cover extra distance
for about one to one and a half hour on the sea to reach countries in
the Far East region."
He said there are few planes with both Pakistan and India with the
capacity to carry extra fuel for such long flights, which will make
technical landings and even emergency landings inevitable from time to
Air India was flying from Bombay to Karachi for Dubai where from it used
to take off for European destinations - a lucrative route that will now
not be available to it.
The official said that another major drawback for Indian airlines in the
new situation is its high number of flights for western destinations and
the Middle East, reached by overflying Pakistani air space - which will
now need re-working and cost much more.
Over aviation sources said the ban on the use of air space by both
countries will ultimately affect the general public, already faced with
"The steps taken by India to suspend all means of communication between
the two countries have directly hit the common man on the both sides of
the border whose main concern is social and not political in any case,"
one travel agent said.
India uses Pakistani airspace for more than 200 flights a week whereas
Pakistan will have to suspend 11 weekly flights to India from January 1
besides 12 weekly flights for other destinations in East Asian countries
that use Indian airspace.
The experts are of the view that PIA's profitability will be affected
only marginally because most of its moneymaking routes are to the Middle
East and UK, not the Far Eastern destinations for which the Indian air
space is used. -Internews
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