KARACHI- On Sunday, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) assured that the country’s airspace is completely secure for all types of flight operations.
This statement came shortly after a European air safety agency issued a warning to airlines about potential “high risk” while flying at low altitudes in Karachi and Lahore.
Europe Recommendations for Flights over Pakistani Airspace
On Friday, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an advisory regarding the security situation in Pakistan.
The advisory highlighted the presence of violent non-state actor groups armed with anti-aviation weaponry, possibly MANPADS (man-portable air-defense systems).
This situation poses a continued potential threat to civil aviation, especially at altitudes below flight level (FL) 260 or 26,000 feet, indicating a high risk to operations. Further, the advisory will be valid until January 31 of the following year.
It also emphasized that the Kashmir region remains a site of a territorial dispute. Sporadic military operations could create inadvertent risks for civil aviation in this region. This is due to the potential for misidentification, particularly in the Lahore region.
EASA advised operators against conducting flights over Karachi and Lahore below FL 260. They further suggested that operators consider this information and any other relevant details during their own risk assessments.
Additionally, operators should take into account any available guidance or directions from their national authority as appropriate.
Pakistan CAA Clarification on EASA Advisory
Nevertheless, a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority insisted that Pakistan’s airspace remains secure for flight operations.
The Airline Operators of Pakistan (AOOA) voiced their opposition to the EASA’s safety circular and demanded its withdrawal.
They contended that the advisory had created unnecessary fears and was being used as an excuse to hinder Pakistan’s participation in economic activities.
According to Imran Aslam Khan, the CEO of the AOOA, Pakistan’s airspace is entirely safe and well-protected against any unauthorized intrusions.
He emphasized that the country’s airports are also safe for flight operations, with numerous commercial and private flights operating daily.
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