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Post airstrike, Pakistan partially opens airspace from India for west-bound flights

Since February 26, many foreign airlines have decided to suspend their Delhi-bound flights as it was commercially unviable for them to take a longer route through Mumbai airspace.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: April 06, 2019 12:51 IST
Representational Image
Image Source : PTI

Representational Image

Post airstrikes conducted by Indian Air Force on Pakistan's Balakot, Pak has one of its 11 air routes, P518, for west-bound flights from India. It had fully closed its airspace IAF strikes held on a terror camp on February 26.

A senior government official on Saturday said that airlines such as Air India and Turkish Airlines have started using it.

"Pakistan has been opening its airspace in tranches. On Thursday, it opened one of the 11 routes for west-bound flights. Therefore, airlines such as Air India and Turkish Airlines have started using it," the official said.

However, its airspace had opened for all flights except for Bangkok, New Delhi, and Kuala Lumpur on March 27. "Since the route P518 that has been opened passes over south Pakistan, the air travel time for west-bound flights from Delhi will not decrease substantially," the official clarified.

Even though the route P518 was opened on Thursday evening, American airline company United Airlines announced on Friday that its flight connecting Newark airport and Delhi airport has been suspended for two weeks. 

Since February 26, many foreign airlines have decided to suspend their Delhi-bound flights as it was commercially unviable for them to take a longer route through Mumbai airspace. 

 
Due to the closure of Pakistan airspace, the operating cost for Air India has increased significantly for the flights with the destinations in Europe and the US, as it had to take longer routes.

The national carrier flights, Delhi-Washington and Delhi-Chicago, had been making a stop for refueling and change of crew at Mumbai and Vienna. 

Air India had requested its "inactive" crew members to "immediately" join work as the airline had been forced to cancel and reroute a number of the US and Europe-bound flights due to the closure of Pakistan airspace on March 15. 

The airline had on March 14 announced that it would combine the Mumbai-New York flight with its Mumbai-Newark flight from March 16 to May 31.

On March 13, it had announced the suspension of flights on the Delhi-Madrid and Delhi-Birmingham routes from March 16 "till further notice" due to "operational reasons".

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