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US regulator warns airlines of flight disruptions in Pakistan airspace

The warning is a part of a US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) notice to airmen (NOTAM) on December 30, in which it has also flagged risks involved in operating flights in Pakistan airspace

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

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The US aviation regulator has warned America's airlines that there may be airspace closures and flight disruptions in Pakistan, with little or no warning, due to "clashes" in the "Kashmir region", according to an official document.

The warning is a part of a US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) notice to airmen (NOTAM) on December 30, in which it has also flagged risks involved in operating flights in Pakistan airspace due to "extremist or militant activity".

The December 30 NOTAM -- which is applicable to all US-based airlines and pilots -- was issued with a background note that mentioned the February 14, 2019 terrorist attack on Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir.

In response to the Pulwama attack, that had left 40 CRPF personnel dead, the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted air strikes against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camps in Balakot on February 26, 2019.

"Pakistan carried out retaliatory air strikes on unidentified targets (on February 27) in Indian-administered Kashmir and subsequently claimed to have shot down two Indian fighter jets entering Pakistani airspace", the FAA said in the background note dated December 30, 2019.

It also said, "India and Pakistan employ a variety of advanced air-to-air fighter aircraft and surface-to-air missile systems capable of targeting aircraft up to and beyond overflight altitudes typically used by civil aircraft."

Although India and Pakistan have no intent to target civil aviation, if military operations were to resume, such operations could present an inadvertent risk to US civil aviation, said the FAA.

"Historically, Pakistan and neighboring air navigation service providers have managed their airspace appropriately to deconflict and protect civil aviation overflight operations in response to clashes in the Kashmir Region," it added.

"In addition to the extremist/militant threat to US civil aviation operations in the territory and airspace of Pakistan, there may be flight disruptions and airspace closures implemented due to clashes in the Kashmir Region with little or no warning," it said.

First Published: Fri, January 03 2020. 16:40 IST
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