Pakistan opens its airspace for Indian flights, was closed since Balakot strikes: After more than four months of the ban, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority on Tuesday reopened its airspace for all civilian traffic with immediate effect. In a notice to airmen (NOTAM), the authority stated that Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civilian traffic on published ATS routes, removing the ban on Indian passenger jets. Reports suggest that Pakistan has allowed Indian airlines to fly through its airspace which would start soon.
The move is likely to give relief to Indian airlines which suffered major losses. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri earlier this month said that Air India suffered Rs 491 crore loss till July 2, 2019. He said that private airlines SpiceJet lost Rs 30.73 crore, IndiGo Rs 25.1 crore and GoAir lost Rs 2.1 crore.
A few days back, Islamabad had said that the country would not remove the ban until India removed its fighter jets from forwarding airbases. Pakistan had shut its airspace on the eastern border with India on February 26, following the Balakot strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror sanctuaries.
The Indian Air Force had carried out retaliatory strikes after the Pulwama terror attack of February 14 in which 44 CRPF personnel were killed. Pakistan-based JeM had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.
– The decision to close Pakistan’s airspace for affected as many as 400 flight.
– Pakistan was the worst affected due to the closure of its own airspace. Islamabad lost almost 100 million dollars, reports said.
– Indian carriers together lost over Rs 550 crore due to the restrictions imposed by the Pakistan government.
– National carrier Air India had to bear the brunt. It lost Rs 491 crore till July 2, 2019.
– The restriction resulted in longer flight times and higher fuel burns. Several inbound Air India and multi-national flights from Europe were affected as they were using routes passing through the Pakistan airspace to return to Delhi
– The move is likely to result in the reduction of flight times by around 70-80 minutes for flights.
– Tickets for America, Canada may be cheaper by Rs 5,000 from this week.