Go First (G8, Mumbai Int'l) has been forced to add around 30 minutes to the flight time of its operations between Srinagar and Sharjah after Pakistan denied the airline permission to overfly its territory.

The Pakistani Foreign Office confirmed the development, saying that there were "various aspects to this issue", the LiveMint news website has reported.

State-owned PTI news agency reported that the Pakistani authorities blocked the low-cost carrier's overflights on this route as of November 1. Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows that while until the end of October, the flights took around 3:45 hours, the current flight time exceeds 4:15 hours. Go First (formerly known as GoAir) deploys A320-200Ns on the route 4x weekly and currently has to route the flights over India's Gujarat and the Arabian Sea, bypassing Pakistan from the south. The northern bypass would be much shorter but require overflying Afghanistan, which is not allowed on security grounds.

"Very unfortunate. Pakistan did the same thing with the Air India Express flight from Srinagar to Dubai Int'l in 2009-2010. I had hoped that Go First being permitted to overfly Pakistan airspace was indicative of a thaw in relations, but alas that wasn't to be," Vice-President of Jammu Kashmir National Conference Omar Abdullah said.

Srinagar is the largest city of the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory, one of two regions comprising the Indian-controlled part of the Jammu and Kashmir region (which also includes parts controlled by Pakistan and China). The predominantly Muslim territory had not had international air connectivity since 2010 until Go First debuted its services to Sharjah in late October 2021. For the first week, the LCC overflew Kashmir without objections from the Islamabad government.

While most of the airline's flights to Sharjah and Dubai Int'l do not need to cross Pakistan, Go First continues to operate its Delhi Int'l-Sharjah flights via Pakistani airspace.

Srinagar is the largest airport in Jammu and Kashmir with 49,516 weekly departure scheduled seats, the ch-aviation capacities module shows. The other two active airports in the territory, Jammu and Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee, only see domestic traffic.