Air India lost Rs 491 million years until July 2 due to the closure of Pakistan airspace: Government

NEW DELHI: due to the closure of the airspace by Pakistan, national airline Air india it lost Rs 491 million years until July 2, according to the data presented by the minister of civil aviation Hardeep Singh Puri in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Private airlines SpiceJet , Indigo & GoAir lost Rs 30.73 crore, Rs 25.1 crore & Rs 2.1 crore, respectively, the data stated.

Pakistan closed its airspace after the IAF's February 26 Balakot strike. Since then, it has only opened two of 11 air routes & both of them pass through southern Pakistan.

For its part, the Indian air force (IAF) announced on May 31 that all temporary restrictions imposed on Indian airspace after the Balakot strike were eliminated.

However, it is unlikely to benefit any commercial airliners unless Pakistan reciprocates & opens its complete airspace.

In a written response, Puri said," The airspace closure by Pakistan is a unilateral measure that followed the non-military counter-terrorism airstrike by the Indian air force against terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan in February 2019. It is for Pakistan to decide."

Post the airstrike, Air india had to re-route, merge or suspend many of its international flights that connect India with European & US cities.

Indigo , India's largest airline by share in domestic passenger market , has not been able to start direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul due to the closure of Pakistani airspace.

The low-cost airline started the Delhi-Istanbul flight in March.

This flight has to take the longer route over the Arabian Sea & make a stop at Doha in Qatar for refuelling.