Pakistan partially reopens its airspace to four major cities

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Pakistan’s civil aviation authority has partially re-opened the country’s airspace, allowing travel to four major cities, another sign that tensions with archrival India are de-escalating.

The agency issued a statement on Friday saying all domestic and international flights will be allowed to and from the cities of Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta.

It says other airports, including the one located in the eastern city of Lahore that borders India, will remain closed until March 4.

Islamabad closed its air space on Wednesday after saying that Pakistan’s military shot down two Indian warplanes and captured a pilot, escalating tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. The closures snarled air traffic.

The pilot is expected to be handed back to India later in the day, a move Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said was a gesture of peace.

Stranded tourists

About 2,000 travellers were still stranded in the Thai capital Bangkok on Friday and it will take a few more days to get them home after flights were disrupted by the latest conflict between Pakistan and India, airline officials said.

Thai Airways International canceled more than a dozen flights to European cities -- including London, Paris, Milan, Zurich and Frankfurt -- after Pakistan closed its airspace on Wednesday amid rising tensions with India.

Nearly 5,000 passengers - most of them flying on Thai Airways and Taiwan’s EVA Airways - scrambled to find alternative flights from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport after Pakistan closed its airspace on Wednesday.