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Pakistan refuses use of its airspace for Srinagar-Sharjah flight; India takes up the issue with Pakistan

Pakistan has denied permission to the Go First airline, previously known as GoAir, to use its airspace for operating flights from Kashmir to the United Arab Emirates. Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman, Asim Iftikhar Ahmed, said, “the over-flight permission for such flights has been denied,” he said, adding that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would have technical details.

“There are various aspects to this issue and the concerned authorities are fully seized of it,” he added.

This week, Pakistan had said that it did not allow Srinagar-Sharjah flight of Go First to use its airspace, forcing it to take a longer route and fly over Gujarat to reach its destination in the UAE.

Meanwhile, Indian authorities have asked the Pakistan government to grant overflight clearance for the flight in the “larger interest of the common people.”

Go First had started direct flights between Srinagar and Sharjah from October 23. Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the service during his visit to the Valley last month.

According to the officials, the flight, which operates four times a week, did not face any issue when it used Pakistan airspace between October 23 and October 31.

However, Pakistan on November 2 refused to give permission for the flight to pass through its airspace. Therefore, the service had to take a longer route, going over Gujarat, adding around 40 minutes to the flight time on the onward journey as well as the return journey.

Longer route means higher fuel consumption, which may push the airline to increase the ticket prices or turn this non-stop service to one-stop service.

Therefore, the officials said that India has requested Pakistan through diplomatic channels to grant the overflight clearance to this flight keeping in mind the larger interest of common people who have booked the tickets on this service.

Go First airline’s Srinagar-Sharjah-Srinagar service is the first service between Jammu and Kashmir and the UAE after 11 years. Air India Express had started a Srinagar-Dubai flight in February 2009 but it was discontinued after some time due to low demand. (Source Mint)

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