Friday, March 08, 2019

Air India losing Rs 3 crore daily due to closure of Pakistan airspace

Air India is incurring a loss of around Rs 3 crore daily on its Europe, US flights due to the closure of Pakistan airspace, a senior airline official said on Thursday. Last Wednesday, Pakistan closed its airspace to all overflying flights forcing airlines from India and other nations to take a detour. This has led to increase in flight duration and has put a strain on Mumbai’s air traffic controllers, who are working extra shifts to handle the increase in traffic.

On Thursday, Pakistan civil aviation authority extended the closure for overflying flights by another day till Friday afternoon. Flights within and to Pakistan from overseas are operating for past few days.
Air India operates Boeing 777 aircraft on non-stop flights to New York, Newark, Chicago, Washington and San Francisco on 14-16 hour flights. It has 36 weekly departures from Delhi and Mumbai to the US which would transit the Pakistan airspace. The closure has resulted in change in routes - flights from Delhi now head South and enter the Omani and Iran airspace. This has led to an increase in flight duration by around two hours. The airline is also forced to make a halt in Sharjah for refuelling in both directions.

Air India operates flights to ten cities in Europe with its Boeing 787 planes. Their usual duration is 7.30-9 hours and it has now increased by additional 90 minutes as planes skip Pakistan airspace.
08/03/19 Business Standard

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