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What is the India Pakistan Airspace Agreement?

Airspace Agreement was singed between India and Pakistan at New Delhi on 6 April 1991. The basic purpose of this agreement was to prevent air space violations b/w these two countries. This agreement has specified clear cup guidelines to the air force head quarter of both sides.
Jul 16, 2019 18:15 IST
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Finally the Pakistan has opened its airspace for the commercial operations after the closure for around 5 months. This closure was done after the result of Indian Air strike on the terrorist training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot.

This step seems to a big relief to the airlines (Air India,IndiGo and GoAir) as well as passengers flying towards the west of India.

IndiGo the India's largest domestic airline was unable to start direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace.

Due to the Pakistan's ban; IndiGo flight had to take the longer route over the Arabian Sea and take a stop at Doha (Qatar) for refuelling the aeroplane.

According to the data presented by Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in the Rajya Sabha on July 3; the national carrier Air India had lost around Rs 491 crore till July 2 due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace.

Private airlines SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir lost Rs 30.73 crore, Rs 25.1 crore and Rs 2.1 crore, respectively.

So the total lose to the Indian airlines carriers was around Rs 550 crore till the middle of June 2019.

Let’s have a look on the India Pakistan Airspace Agreement

The Airspace agreement between India and Pakistan was signed at New Delhi on 6 April 1991 but It came into force on 19 August 1992 by the exchange of the instruments of ratification.

This agreement is divided in 9 articles. We have not explained line to line provisions of this agreement here. So this article is just for providing overview of the agreement to the readers.

Article- 1 (Air Violations )

India and Pakistan both sides will take adequate measures to ensure, that air violations of each other's airspace do not take place.

However, if any inattentive violation take place;

The incident will be promptly investigated and the Headquarters (HQ) of the other Air Force be informed about the results without any delay through diplomatic channels.

Article- 2

Combat aircraft (includes fighter,reconnaissance, bomber, jet military trainer and armed helicopter aircraft) will not fly within 10 kms of each other's airspace.

No aircraft of any side will enter the airspace over the territorial waters of the either country, except by prior permission.

Article 3:  Aerial Survey/ Supply Dropping, Mercy and Rescue Missions

If a country want to initiate flights of aircraft/helicopter less than 1000 metres from the other's airspace for purposes such as aerial survey, supply dropping for mercy missions and aerial rescue missions.

The concerned country will share following information in advance to the HQ of other country;

i. Type of aircraft/helicopter.

ii. Height of flight within Plus/Minus 1000 ft.

iii. Number of days of operation not to exceed seven days when flights are proposed to be undertaken.

iv. Proposed timing of flight, where possible

v. Area involved (in latitude and longitude)

Article - 4 (Air Exercises Near Border)

If a country wants to do any air force exercise near the airspace of each other.The concerned country will give prior information to the Air Force HQ of other country in order to avoid any confusion between two nations.

Article - 5 (Communication Between IAF And PAK)

This article envisages that during emergency and in matter of safety operation by the air force; the authorities designated by the respective Governments should contact each other by the quickest means of communications available.

Article - 6 (Operations From Air Fields Close to the Borders)

Combat aircraft; operating from the air bases specified below will maintain a distance of 5 kms from each other's airspace:-

a. Indian Side

(1) Jammu

(2) Pathankot

(3) Amritsar

(4) Suratgarh

b. Pakistan Side

(1) Pasrur

(2) Lahore

(3) Vehari

(4) Rahim Yar Khan

Article 7: (Flight of military Aircraft through each other's Air Space)

Military aircraft may fly through each other's airspace with the prior permission of the other country and subject to conditions specified in Appendix A to this Agreement.

Article - 8 (Validity of Agreement)

This Agreement supersedes all previous understandings in so far as air space violations and over flights and landings by military aircraft are concerned.

Article - 9 (Agreement may be change)

This Agreement is subject to ratification. It shall come into force with effect from the date on which this agreement was come into force.

So the above mentioned 9 articles clearly specify that what actions can be performed by the air force of both sides. This agreement between the Air force of India and Pakistan is done to reduce the escalation of war like situation on the border which may arise due to any confusion also.