EASA issues warning to airlines for Karachi and Lahore flights

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The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) urged airlines not to fly below FL 260 altitude over Lahore and Karachi due to the “present dangers in Pakistan with an outbreak of violent non-state actor organizations with confirmed anti-aviation weaponry, possibly MANPADS (man-portable air-defence systems)”.

The EASA advice is non-binding, and airlines are not compelled to heed it. According to EASA’s most recent advisory notice, “there is a continuing possible threat to civil aviation, resulting in a high risk of operation at altitudes below FL 260.”

Furthermore, it said that the Kashmir region remains the location of periodic military actions, offering a potential unintended risk to civil aviation due to a potential risk of misidentification in event of military escalation, notably in the FIR Lahore (OPLR).

EASA has encouraged air operators to include this information, as well as any other relevant information, in their own risk assessments, in addition to any available guidance or orders from their national authority, where applicable.

EASA refers to similar advisory issued in the previous year for French and German aviation operators.

In November of last year, the CIA issued a similar alert, advising all operators to “exercise extreme caution” when flying over the country and not to fly below 24,000 feet (7,300 meters).

EASA has never mentioned any specific fear of attack affecting flights into, out of, or within Pakistan.

According to the agency’s website, it is a neutral body that promotes confidence in safe air operations in Europe and around the world by proposing and developing rules, standards, and guidance; certifying aircraft, parts, and equipment; and approving and overseeing organizations in all aviation domains.