Srinagar-Sharjah Flight: Re-routing of flights from Srinagar to the United Arab Emirates (to assure it doesn’t cross Pakistani airspace) adds over an hour of flying time, rising fuel, and ticket prices
Srinagar-Sharjah direct flight
Pakistan has denied use of its airspace to a Srinagar-Sharjah nonstop flight – operated by low-cost airline Go First – that was inaugurated by Home Minister Amit Shah during his travel to J&K last month.
- The Civil Aviation, External Affairs, and Home Affairs ministries had been informed of this development, government sources .
The denial has raised questions over the viability of the flight, raising fears it may meet the same fate as the 2009 Srinagar-Dubai service shelved due to low demand after Pak closed its airspace.
Srinagar to the United Arab Emirates
Re-routing of flights from Srinagar to the United Arab Emirates (to ensure it doesn’t cross Pakistani airspace) adds over an hour of flying time, rising fuel, and ticket prices.
- The first Srinagar-Sharjah flight took off on October 23.
- According to flight-tracking service Radar24, services up to October 30 crossed Pak airspace but on November 2 the plane flew over Rajasthan and Gujarat, before turning west over the Arabian Sea.
Go First has said it plans to continue offering the service (on alternate days) for now.
Former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has hit out at the government for clearing the flight without laying the necessary groundwork; the PDP chief called Mr. Shah’s flagging off a “PR stunt”.
Government of India
“Puzzling the Government of India didn’t even try securing permission from Pakistan to use its airspace for international flights from Srinagar. PR extravaganza without groundwork,” she tweeted.
Another ex-Chief Minister, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, tweeted “very unfortunate”.
“Very unfortunate. Pakistan did a similar thing with the Air India Express flight from Srinagar to Dubai in 2009-2010. I had hoped Go First being permitted to overfly Pak airspace was indicative of a thaw in relations but alas that wasn’t to be,” Mr. Abdullah tweeted.
Last month, as Amit Shah flagged off the first Srinagar-Sharjah flight, Mr. Abdullah had tweeted a word of caution, saying he hoped “Pakistan had a change of heart…”
“Regarding the Srinagar-Sharjah flight declared today – has Pakistan had a change of heart and allowed flights originating from Srinagar to use its airspace? If not then this flight will die the way the Srinagar-Dubai flight died during UPA2,” he tweeted.
Pakistan has, however, been allowing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use its airspace
Most newly the Prime Minister‘s plane met Pak airspace to and from Europe, when he was visiting the G20 and COP26 summits in Italy and Scotland, respectively.
And in September, during the PM’s flew to the United States, his flight was also allowed to use Pak airspace.
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