Days after Pakistan opened its airspace for civilian traffics, it has been reported by Pak media that the neighbouring country suffered a whopping USD 50 million loss due to the closure of airspace for close to 5 months.
Addressing a press conference in Karachi, Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) suffered a loss of Rs 8.5 billion because of the airspace restrictions. He further added that the Imran Khan government is trying to revamp the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
Pakistan opened its airspace for all civilian traffic earlier on Tuesday morning. It removed the ban on Indian flights also which were not allowed to enter its airspace, which it had imposed in the aftermath of the Balakot airstrike in February. In mid-April, Pakistan had opened it part of its airspace for all flights expect but for the Indian flights.
Notably, Indian airline Air India also suffered a huge financial loss of around Rs 491 crore till July 2 after it had to re-route majority of its international flights because of the closure of the Pakistan airspace. Besides the national carrier, private airlines such as IndiGo, SpiceJet, and GoAir also suffered losses. Flights had to re-route, suspend or merge many of the international flights connecting between India and European and US cities.
The Imran Khan government had closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out airstrikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot in retaliation for the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred. This suspended normal air traffic operations between India and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, on May 31, the Indian Air Force had removed all temporary restrictions imposed on Indian airspace post the Balakot strike. Even then, it could not benefit most of the Indian commercial airliners and they were forced to wait for the neighbouring country to fully open its airspace.
(With PTI inputs)