Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Pakistani airspace closure after Balakot strike cost Islamabad Rs 688 crore

New Delhi: The Pakistan airspace that was closed following the tensions between India and its neighbour after the Pulwama suicide bombing led to heavy losses. The closure of the airspace affected nearly 400 flights a day and resulted in nearly a loss of $100 million (Rs 688 crore) for Islamabad. An extensive study of operations by Pakistani and foreign carriers between February and late June showed that approximately 400 flights a day were impacted by the closure. It also led to an increase in flight times as planes had to bypass Pakistani airspace. The closure, hence, resulted in increased fuel expenses, operational costs and maintenance costs as well as higher duty hours for the aircrew.

Out of the losses incurred, one was direct impact in revenues for the Civil Aviation Authority from route navigation and airport charges that are levied on aircraft flying over or landing in Pakistan, as mentioned in a report in Hindustan Times. These charges depend on multiple factors such as the category of aircraft and the distance covered within the Pakistani airspace. A source told the daily that it can be assumed that Pakistan incurred losses due to overflight charges alone for the CAA would be about $232,000. The losses touch $300,000 if charges for terminal navigation, landing and parking of aircraft are included.
Additionally, state-run Pakistan International Airlines is also suffering losses to the tune of $460,000 a day due to suspension of flights to international destinations such as Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Delhi. That they had to fly for longer durations due to the closure also did not help matters. The combined daily losses of CAA and PIA of about $760,000 have resulted in the total loss of almost $100 million since the restrictions were imposed.
03/07/19 Business Today
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