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Indian airlines have lost Rs 550 cr in aftermath of Balakot strike. Know how

Pakistan decided to shut its airspace to India in the aftermath of the Balakot strike. Since then, it has only opened 2 of 11 air routes
New Delhi: Pakistan’s decision to close its airspace to India has resulted in a loss of Rs 491 crore for Air India, Rs 30.73 crore for SpiceJet, Rs 25.1 crore for IndiGo and Rs 2.1 crore for GoAir as on July 2, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said. The total stands at Rs 548.93 crore. Pakistan decided to shut its airspace to India in the aftermath of the Balakot strike in February. Since then, it has only opened two of 11 air routes and both of them pass through southern Pakistan.

‘It is for Pakistan to decide’

In a written response submitted in the Rajya Sabha, Puri said, “The airspace closure by Pakistan is a unilateral measure that followed the non-military counter-terrorism airstrike by the Indian Air Force against terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan in February 2019. It is for Pakistan to decide.”

The impact

After the closure of the airspace, Air India had to re-route, merge or suspend many of its international flights that connect India with European cities and the United States. India’s budget carrier IndiGo started direct flights between Delhi and Istanbul in March but the flights take a longer route over the Arabian Sea and make a stop at Doha in Qatar for refuelling.

‘India has removed restrictions’

The Indian Air Force (IAF) had announced on May 31 that all temporary restrictions imposed on Indian airspace in the aftermath of the Balakot strike have been removed. But the move is unlikely to benefit any commercial airlines unless Pakistan follows suit.