Pakistan opened its airspace on Tuesday morning for all commercial airlines after a gap of five months. This move will give a big relief to Air India and other private Indian carriers as the flights were rerouting due to the closure of Pakistani airspace.
Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 27 after Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) airstrike in Balakot in retaliation to the Pulwama attack on February 14. Since then, the neighbouring country had closed the airspace.
“Pakistan has permitted all airlines to fly through its airspace from around 12:41 am today. Indian airline operators will start using normal routes through Pakistan airspace soon,” Indian officials told.
Indian carriers have lost around USD 80 million till July 2 due to airspace closure. Indian National Carrier Air India which suffered a huge financial loss of around USD 70 million as It had to reroute its international flights. Private airlines including SpiceJet, IndiGo, and GoAir lost around USD 10 million.
The low-cost carrier IndiGo was unable to start direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace. It started the Delhi-Istanbul flight in March. Till date, this IndiGo flight was longer route over the Arabian Sea and making a stop at Doha in Qatar for refuelling.
Pakistan has cancelled the ‘Notam’ (Notice to airmen) for its airspace wef 0038 IST, consequential ‘Notam’ by India also cancelled. The flights have resumed now, the official added.