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Afghanistan opens two new air routes as Pakistan airspace remains closed

AT News Report

KABUL: Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) said Tuesday that two alternative new air routes have been inaugurated following closure of Pakistani airspace for the Afghan overflights for more than four months now.

The newly launched airways would facilitate flights from Afghanistan and connect eastern and western Asia, ACAA said in a statement, adding the routes passed through the airspace of Tajikistan to travel to China and East Asia.

According to the statement, the ACAA established one of the new air corridor on Monday following an agreement with the Civil Aviation Authority of Tajikistan.

Meanwhile, the other east-west route which earlier passed through Pakistan airspace has been opened by bypassing Pakistan. “No wall commercial flights connect East Asia to West Asia without crossing Pakistani airspace.”

Opening of the new flight routes would shorten flight distance between East Asia and West Asia. Fly Dubai, Qatar Airways and other airlines are expected to use the new routes.

The ACAA said that the launch of the new routes had been welcomed by airlines and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The authority also lauded these new routes as crucial in strengthening the Afghan airspace capacity.

The authority had earlier announced that since Pakistan closed its airspace, Afghanistan incurred $15 million due to decreased flights across Afghanistan.

Pakistan closed its airspace in February this year after tensions erupted between India and Pakistan over an alleged suicide attack by a Pakistan-based militant group in Indian-controlled Kashmir. This led to aerial bombing missions between the rivals on each other’s soil and a dogfight over Kashmir.

This closure resulted in suspension of 400 to 500 flights which used to fly across Afghanistan into Pakistan and some India airlines suspended their flights to Afghanistan as well.

However, Indian flights en-route Afghanistan resumed through Iran’s airspace to avoid Pakistan; however, the flights are time-consuming with doubled air fares for passengers.

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