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Pakistan blocks GoFirst flight: How it flouts freedom of air

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    16th Nov, 2021

Context

Pakistan has denied use of its airspace to Go First’s Srinagar-Sharjah flight.

About

Important facts about the flight

  • The direct flight is operated by low-cost airline GoFirst (formerly known as GoAir) - that was recently inaugurated.
  • The plane was to operate in Pakistan's airspace.
  • This is the first service between Jammu and Kashmir and the UAE after 11 years.
    • Air India Express had started a Srinagar-Dubai flight in February 2009 but it was discontinued after some time due to low demand.
  • The Srinagar-Sharjah flight duration is around three hours if the Pakistan airspace is used, however, with Islamabad refusing to allow the flight through its airspace, it will be nearly an hour longer, raising fuel and ticket costs.

What is Freedom of air?

  • Freedom of air refers to a country that gives foreign airlines the right to use and/or land another country’s airspace.
  • Freedom from air rule came from the Chicago Convention in 1944.
  • The signatories to the convention decided to set rules that would act as fundamental building blocks to international commercial aviation.
  • The conference provides for nine air freedoms, but only the first five freedoms have been officially recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

International Civil Aviation Organization

  • It is a United Nations (UN) specialized agency, that lays the foundation for the standards and procedures for peaceful global air navigation.
  • Established in: 1944
  • Members: India has between 193 members.
  • Headquarter: Headquarters in Montreal, Canada.
  • The Convention on International Civil Aviation was signed on 7 December 1944 in Chicago.
  • It established the core principles permitting international transport by air, and also led to the creation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Five air freedoms

  • First Right of Freedom: It is granted by one State to another State or States to fly across its territory without landing.
  • Second Freedom of Rights: A right or privilege, in respect of an organized international airline, granted to one State to another state or states to land its territory for non-traffic purposes.
  • Third Freedom of Rights: To put down, in the territory of the First State, traffic coming from the home State of the carrier.
  • Fourth Right to Freedom: To take on, in the territory of the First State, traffic destined for the home State of the carrier.
  • Fifth Amendment Freedom: To put down and to take on, in the territory of the First State, traffic coming from or destined to a third State.
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