Sunday, March 17, 2019

With Pakistan’s Airspace Still Closed, Air India Is the Worst-Hit

A day after India launched IAF airstrikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot, Pakistan had announced the closure of its airspace on 27 February.

It’s now been 17 days since the announcement.

Flights from all over the world from different airlines have been either cancelled or rerouted with 400 flights being affected daily, reports The Print. Many international airlines earlier cancelled their flights, but have now rerouted them to not pass over Pakistan’s airspace.

Pakistan announced last week that it would be partially opening up its airspace, but for now the only flights allowed are ones coming into its own cities. Air India is one of the airlines worst-hit by this closure.

Air India flies 33 weekly services to the US and 66 to Europe, reports The Print. Most of these had to be either diverted or cancelled since the routes mainly fly over Pakistan.

Speaking to The Print, Air India’s spokesperson Praveen Bhatnagar said, “flight timings have been increased by over three hours” due to these reasons.

Long flights like those from Delhi to the US are adversely affected and have had to be re-rerouted through Mumbai and then to the Arabian Sea via UAE airspace. Non-stop flights operated by Air India have been rerouted till 30 April.

These changes have resulted in revenue losses. Air India spokesperson Bhatnagar told The Print,

We are definitely undergoing a loss in this situation, but we haven’t calculated how much we have lost financially since 27 February.
Private carriers like SpiceJet have also been affected, since they have had to cancel their daily Delhi-Kabul-Delhi flight.

According to international flight tracker, Flightradar24.com’s data, a majority of flights originating in South-East Asia which are bound for Europe have been hit as they have to fly over southern India and not Kolkata.
17/03/19 Quint

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