Once again, Pakistan did something that it had sworn not to do until a certain step was taken by the Indian army.
Yes, we are talking about PAK’s claim that it would not open its airspace for commercial flights until India removed its fighter jets from forward Indian airbases.
However, dismissing the claim today, the airspace has been reopened to all civilian planes after several months of restriction. To remind you, all this restriction was because of the airstrike that Indian army had conducted to destroy the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot.
How will it effect India?
In a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority confirmed,” With immediate effect, Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civilian traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes.”
With this, the commercial airlines are likely to resume normal routes through Pakistan airspace. India will get majorly affected by it, reason being Indian flights have lost over Rs 550 crores because of the airspace restrictions imposed by Pakistan. It was because of the same restriction that flights had to take a longer route. And hence, consume a massive amount of fuel to cope up the distance.
With the restriction now lifted, Indian carriers would save a humongous amount of fuel and a lot of time as well.
Which routes suffered the most?
Due to the airspace restriction, hundreds of east-west flights had to fly over the subcontinent. Westbound flights from airports in cities from Delhi, Lucknow, Amritsar etc were equally affected.
Also, westbound flights from north Indian airports had to take a detour in order to reach Europe, North America or West Asia. This overall had impacted the flight time and increased it by a whooping 70 -80 minutes.
In financial terms, these longer routes had cost the major airlines a lot. Air India lost Rs 491 crores while IndiGo incurred a loss of Rs 25.1 . Other airlines like SpiceJet lost over Rs 30.73 crores and GoAir managed to stop their loss at just Rs 2.1 crores.
With the lift of airspace restriction, all the Indian airlines can expect to recover from the loss they suffered in the past few months. Also, it will save a lot of hassle for the passengers. Now, they won’t have to spend time in longer flights as the normal routes have been resumed.