Pakistan and Russia to resolve flights issue on table | Pakistan Today

Pakistan and Russia to resolve flights issue on table

ISLAMABAD – The Pakistani and Russian authorities will meet next month to resolve the issue of refusal of Russian authorities to allow Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)’s 32 flights to cross Russia’s airspace.
According to a source in the ministry of defense, the Russian authorities had desired to hold a meeting with Pakistani authorities after the latter warned that in case permission was not granted to PIA, the Russian designated carrier, Aeroflot, will not be allowed to operate to 18 destinations to ‘beyond point’ Pakistan with effect from 10th January, 2011. Pakistan holds that these 18 destinations are not covered in the Air Services Agreement of 1963, which Russia wants to adhere to, and if Pakistan is allowing Russian designated airline to operate to these destinations, Russia should allow PIA’s flights also.
Russian Aviation Authority has not responded to the efforts made by Pakistan to initiate a discussion. Defence Minister Ch Ahmad Mukhtar, through a letter dated December 29 last year, had warned the Russians that Pakistan will be left with no other option except to reciprocate in the similar manner and withdraw the over-flying permission in case the Russians insist upon application of the ASA signed in 1963 instead of the ASA of 1995. The Russian authorities insist that the ASA initialed by both sides in the year 1995 was not formally signed.
The Russian authorities, in response to the warning, sought a meeting between the two authorities and the Pakistan’s ministry of defence has now proposed first or second week of February for holding a round of bilateral ASA talks, either in Pakistan or in Russian Federation, the source said. The Russian decision has caused approximately Rs 6.8 million loss to the PIA. Agreement: Air Services Agreement between Pakistan and Union of Soviet Socialist Republic was signed in 1963. This agreement was replaced with the text of a new Air Services Agreement (ASA), which was initialed by both sides on 21st March 1995.
Bilateral ASA between the two countries states that the airline designated by each contracting party shall enjoy, while operating an agreed service on a specified route, the rights including to fly across the territory of the other contracting party without landing.

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