Islamabad - Pakistan’s airspace has been reopened to civil aviation with immediate effect, its aviation authority said on Tuesday, following months of restrictions imposed in the wake of a standoff with neighbouring India earlier this year.

“With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes,” according to a Notice to Airmen (NOTAMS) published on the authority’s website.

An official at the authority, reached by telephone, confirmed that the change was in effect.

Pakistan closed its airspace in February after a standoff with India. Both countries carried out aerial attacks over the other’s territory during the standoff and warplanes fought a brief dogfight over the skies of Kashmir.

Pakistan also shot down an Indian fighter jet. The aerial attacks brought the countries to the brink of war.

Partial operations at Pakistani airports resumed once tensions eased but restrictions continued to affect many international carriers using Pakistani airspace.

Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor and the airspace restrictions affected hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding to flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.

The announcement came hours after United Airlines Holdings Inc said it was extending the suspension of its flights from the United States to Delhi and Mumbai in India until Oct 26, citing continued restrictions of Pakistani airspace.

The closure forced international airlines to reroute around Pakistan and cost them tens of millions of dollars.

State-owned carrier Air India and other Indian airlines were worst hit. In March, Pakistan partially opened its airspace - but not for flights into and out of India. Early on Tuesday it said things were back to normal.

India’s aviation ministry said there were no further restrictions on airspace in either country.

Indian service providers - Air India, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir - lost nearly $80m due to the closure of the Pakistani airspace, India’s aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri told the parliament recently.

Pakistan airspace is frequently used by airlines operating flights to and from other countries (especially flights between Europe and Asia), and in many cases this had significant implications.

For example, this airspace closure caused Air Canada and United to suspend some of their flights to India, and it caused Air India to have to add fuel stops on many of their flights to the US.