Published: 23rd February 2021
What the FAQ: Here's all you need to know about international flight rules as India allows Pak PM to use its airspace
As per required protocol, whenever heads of state or governments pass through the air space of any other country, they are alerted and due permission is taken
India has allowed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's aircraft to use the Indian Air Space while travelling to Sri Lanka on his maiden visit on February 23. However, the case was different in 2019, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flights to the US and Saudi Arabia weren't allowed through Pakistan's airspace, citing alleged human rights violations in Kashmir.
Here, we try to explain what the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rules are for airplanes operating across international borders and elsewhere.
What are ICAO's rules for flights to operate across international borders?
Ans: A flight plan has to be submitted prior to operating in any airspace and it will include:
-any flight or portion thereof to be provided with air traffic control service
- any IFR flight within advisory airspace
- any flight within or into designated areas, or along designated routes, when so required by the appropriate ATS authority to facilitate the provision of flight information, alerting and search and rescue services
- any flight within or into designated areas, or along designated routes, when so required by the appropriate ATS authority to facilitate coordination with appropriate military units or with air traffic services units in adjacent states in order to avoid the possible need for interception for the purpose of identification
- any flight across international borders
Why was Modi's flight denied permission in 2019?
Ans: India had then taken up the denial of permission to VVIP flight with an International Civil Aviation Organisation. Under regular circumstances, VVIP aircraft are granted permission by countries. However, Pakistan's denial of permission to VVIP aircraft was an aberration. President Ram Nath Kovind’s plane was also not permitted to use Pakistani airspace when he had gone to Europe on a three-nation tour in early September 2019. PM Modi’s plane was not allowed to overfly Pakistani territory during his visit to New York for the UN General assembly in the third week of September that year. Government sources in New Delhi had then said. “We regret the decision of the Government of Pakistan to yet again deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country.” It was also reported that overflight clearances were sought, and granted by other countries as per prescribed ICAO guidelines and India would continue to seek such overflight clearances.
When did India grant permission this time?
Ans: Pakistan had requested for the use of air space for their Prime Minister to pass through and India had granted the permission. As per required protocol, whenever heads of state or governments pass through the air space of any other country, that country is alerted and due permission is taken. According to reports, permission was sent 10 days ago to New Delhi by Islamabad and India granted it on Monday, February 22.