New Delhi: Closure of Pakistan’s airspace has not only affected hundreds of passengers across the globe but also several airlines around the globe.
Reports suggest that Air India has been affected more than any other airline due to the closure of Pakistan airspace, with a loss of more than Rs 60 crore as of March 16.
Pakistan announced general closure of its airspace on February 27, the next day after Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out an airstrike targeting a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot.
Flights of several airlines around the world have been either re-routed or cancelled, with as many as 400 flights being affected on a daily basis. Out of all the airlines, Air India is one of the worst-hit airlines.
Air India flies 66 weekly services to Europe and 33 to the US, reports said. Since the routes mostly fly through Pakistani airspace, majority of these flights had to be either cancelled or diverted.
Air India flights travelling west can no longer fly over Pakistan’s airspace and need to swing south across Gujarat and then cut across the Arabian sea to reach their destinations in Europe and North America.
The most problematic flights for Air India are flights between India and the US east coast – Washington, New York, Newark and Chicago.
This has resulted in Air India, an airline which was already surviving on government bailouts, to incur heavy revenue losses, a spokesperson said.
Other airlines such as private carriers SpiceJet and Jet Airways have also been affected as they to cancel their flight between Delhi and Kabul.
On Tuesday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) dismissed reports saying the Indian aviation regulator had called on all airlines to discuss airfare hike due to the cancellations and Pakistani airspace closure.