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Air space ban forces Pak-India planes to use water corridors to fly  passengers

 KARACHI, December 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
 travelling problems.
 "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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