Indian carries want to avoid dangerous Pakistani airspace

Indian carriers flying to western destinations from the north and north-east regions of the country have sought government permission to fly out from western India, mainly Ahmedabad, in order to avoid Pakistani airspace.

While the air space is mostly reserved for the Air Force and the Navy, several airlines flying to Gulf countries have requested the government for use of the reserved airspace because of security fears due to deteriorating India-Pakistan ties as also due to economic factors.

Air India, Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet operate flights to Gulf over Pakistan and the airlines fear retaliatory action by the Pakistani government over India disallowing some non-scheduled flights from Pakistan over security concernsA.

Reports quoting airline officials said, India has asked some non-scheduled aircraft flying from Pakistan to return and Pakistan in the past few days and it is likely that Pakistan may retaliate with similar action.

Also, flying straight out of Ahmedabad saves costs for the airlines that currently use a circuitous route via Pakistan, according to airline officials.

Also, under difficult circumstances, scheduled commercial airlines are allowed to use airspace reserved for the Air Force and Navy under the ''flexi-use of airspace+''

SpiceJet is reported to have moved both defence and civil aviation ministries in this regard seeking direct access for its flights from Ahmedabad to the Gulf under the " flexi-use of airspace+" facility.
The budget airline estimates a saving of Rs1 lakh per flight if allowed direct flight from the west coast instead of flying over Pakistan for its Ahmedabad-Dubai flight.

A direct flight from Ahmedabad would help the airline save not only on fuel and route navigation flight charges (RNFC), but would also help the country to generate more RNFC and also reduce carbon emissions, according to SpiceJet.

However, since the issue involves flying over some sensitive areas defence authorities are yet to give clearance to the direct access.