Lahore  -    Pakistani airspace on its eastern border with India will remain closed until June 14, a Civil Aviation Authority official said on Wednesday, the latest extension months after a standoff between the arch-rivals.

“We don’t expect the ban to be lifted anytime soon. It may take a while,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

Pakistan closed its airspace in February after IAF carried out Balakot airstrike.

As a result of the ban, foreign carriers using Indian airspace have been forced to take costly detours because they cannot fly over Pakistan. The closure mainly affects flights from Europe to Southeast Asia. The flights from US and Europe flying in and out of New Delhi were worst hit.

Air India has long haul (14-16 hours) flights to New York, Newark, Chicago, Washington and San Francisco.

Due to the airspace closure, flights from Delhi are being routed through Omani and Iranian airspace. The change in route means more fuel burn, added time and more manpower service.

It is believed that due to the change in route Air India has suffered a major loss. “We would not want to comment on this. It’s a diplomatic matter,” an Air India spokesperson told India Today TV.

Former Executive Director Air India Jitendra Bhargava said extension of airspace closure by Pakistan was expected. “Pakistan is unlikely to open the airspace unilaterally. Considering its importance for Indian carriers, Pakistan will like to make it a part of a package that leads to talks and normalisation of relations,” Jitendra Bhargava said.

Pakistan opened its airspace for all flights except for New Delhi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur on March 27. In mid-April, it also opened one of its 11 air routes for West-bound flights from India, and airlines such as Air India and Turkish Airlines have started using it. Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor and the airspace restrictions impact hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day.