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CAA did not restrict Pakistani airlines from using Iran’s airspace

The authority has denied issuing any such notification

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Claim: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has advised Pakistan’s airlines to avoid using Iranian airspace after tensions escalated between the two countries. 

Fact: According to CAA spokesperson Saifullah Khan, no such notification or instructions were issued on avoiding the Iranian airspace. 

Pakistan-Iran tensions

In the early hours of 16 January, Iran launched an attack in Pakistan’s Balochistan province allegedly against the terrorist group, Jaish al-Adl or the Army of Justice.

Pakistan condemned it as “unprovoked”, “illegal”, and “completely unacceptable” while claiming three civilian casualties. Iran denied this, insisting it targeted “Iranian terrorists”.  

Tensions escalated as Pakistan recalled its ambassador, suspended visits, and advised Iran’s ambassador to stay away temporarily. Iran’s strike in Balochistan followed soon after their attacks in Iraq to target Israeli spies and in Syria against the Islamic State (IS). 

In response, Pakistan conducted an operation striking a “number of terrorists” and “hideouts used by terrorist organisations namely, Balochistan Liberation Army [BLA] and Balochistan Liberation Front [BLF]” in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province. The attack resulted in nine casualties, as per the media in Tehran. 

During the operation  ‘Marg Bar Sarmachar’, Pakistan used “killer drones, rockets, loitering munitions, and stand-off weapons”, according to its military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). 

After four days, both countries decided to de-escalate tensions through dialogue and diplomacy.

Fact or Fiction?

On 18 January 2024, X (formerly Twitter) account The STRATCOM Bureau (@OSPSF) claimed that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has advised the national and domestic air carriers of Pakistan to avoid using Iran’s airspace.

The tweet reads,

#Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA ) has advised the national and domestic air carriers of Pakistan to avoid use of #Iran’s airspace, considering the safety and malfunctioning control situation of Iranian air defence systems seen in the past.”

The claim is misleading. A spokesperson of the CAA, Saifullah Khan told Soch Fact Check that the authority did not issue any such notification or instruction. 

An 18 January report by Samaa noted that while airspaces of both Pakistan and Iran have remained open for commercial flights, the CAA was strictly monitoring all the flights entering from Iran and the west side. The Air Traffic Control (ATC) “has not yet received any instructions regarding airspace closure for Iran,” the report added.

A report by ARY News also confirmed that there was no such airspace ban for Iran. 

However on 20 January 2024, The Express Tribune reported that flights using Pakistan’s airspace did see a 50 per cent reduction following the escalation of tensions between Pakistan and Iran, but the report does not confirm any news of a restriction by the CAA on the use of Iran’s airspace.

Virality:

The claim can be found here, here, here, here and here on X. It was also shared by Aaj News.

The tweet by @OSPSF gained significant traction with 58,200 views, 919 likes and 135 reposts. 

The claim was posted by Aaj News and others including here, here, and here on Facebook.

ARY News and Aaj News also carried the claim on their respective websites.

Conclusion: A spokesperson of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has denied that any instruction was issued restricting Pakistan’s airlines from using Iran’s airspace.


To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com 

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