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Airspace ban cost Air India ₹490 crore

Air India incurred a loss of ₹491 crore due to the closure of Pakistani airspace, the government said on Wednesday adding it was a unilateral decision taken by the neighbouring country and it was up to it to revoke the ban.

The loss suffered by Air India between February 27, when Pakistan imposed the ban, and July 2 translates into a daily loss of ₹3.8 crore.

Indian carriers collectively suffered a loss of ₹548.93 crore, according to data provided by Minister of State for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri in the Rajya Sabha.

SpiceJet suffered a loss of ₹30.73 and Go Air ₹2.1 crore until June 20. IndiGo saw a loss of ₹25.1 crore until May 31.

The large size of loss incurred by Air India is mainly on account of its long-haul flights to Europe and the U.S. which had to take a detour via the Oman airspace with an additional technical halt for refuelling, adding at least two hours to its flights leading to an additional fuel burn.

Asked if India was planning to resolve the issue through diplomacy, Mr. Puri said: “The airspace closure by Pakistan is a unilateral measure that followed the non-military counter terrorism air strike by the Indian Air Force against terror camp in Balakot, Pakistan in February, 2019. It is for Pakistan to decide.”

Pakistan lifted the ban for most airlines but not on flights entering from its eastern border and via India. Last week, it again extended the ban up to July 12.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 12:31:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/airspace-ban-cost-air-india-490-crore/article28277148.ece

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