Islamabad's move will force foreign carriers to continue with costly detours since the country’s stand-off with rival India began.

An aerial view of the aeroplane hub at the airport in Karachi, Pakistan on February 3, 2017.
An aerial view of the aeroplane hub at the airport in Karachi, Pakistan on February 3, 2017. (Reuters)

Pakistani airspace on its eastern border with India will remain closed until June 14, a civil aviation official said on Wednesday, the latest extension months after a stand-off between the nuclear-rivals.

Pakistan closed its airspace in February after a suicide attack by a Kashmiri militant in India-administered Kashmir led to aerial bombing missions on each other's soil and a fighter dogfight over Kashmir.

Foreign carriers using Indian airspace have been forced to take costly detours because they cannot fly over Pakistan. 

The closure mainly affects flights from Europe to India and Southeast Asia.

"The closure will continue until June 14," a spokesperson for Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority told Reuters, without giving further details.

Pakistan's strategic location 

Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor and the airspace restrictions impact hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.

Previously, flights from Delhi would cross directly into Pakistan if travelling to Europe. Now, they must go south of Pakistan before returning to their pre-conflict routes.

India's flag carrier Air India is seeing a daily loss of approximately $0.7 to $1 million as its flights towards Europe and the US are forced to take a longer route as well as make a stop en route for refuelling, the English-language newspaper The Hindu reported.

Source: Reuters