The closure of airspace by Pakistan for all international flights has hurt Air India the most. The national carrier is reportedly losing Rs 3 crore every day due to re-routing or cancellation of its flights to the UK and the US. The losses roughly sum up to more than Rs 60 crore for Air India ever since Pakistan closed its airspace post the IAF attack on February 26.
India and Pakistan had ordered for closure of their respective airspaces, shutting down various domestic airports after the hostilities between the neighbours over the Pulwama attack that led to the killing of 40 CRPF personnel. However, India opened its airspace within hours post the IAF strike while Pakistan is still hesitant and has only partially opened its airspace.
400 international flights affected daily?
The decision by the Pakistani government, according to Flightradar24.com, has hit almost 400 flights that use its airspace on a daily basis.
Air India has cancelled or diverted a majority of flights that it operates to the US and the UK using Pakistan airspace over the last 20 days, DNA reported. The national carrier operates 66 such flights every week to Europe and 33 to North America, according to CNN Traveller.
Air India has also suspended its flights to Birmingham due to the Pakistani government's decision describing it as "extraordinary circumstances." There are six such flights from New Delhi and Amritsar in a week.
The flight duration, as a result of re-routing, has also gone up by at least three hours. This has put an additional revenue burden due to additional fuel usage and more work for the airline crew. India's national carrier has consequently ordered its inactive staff to report to overcome the crisis.
Congestion in air traffic over Mumbai risks collisions
A majority of the flights whose routes have been diverted due to Pakistan's airspace closure have been directed to Mumbai which has resulted in air traffic congestion. In fact, it was recently reported that the congestion almost led to a mid-air crash. A timely collision warning saved the airlines from crashing.
When AF253 SGN-CDG nearly collided in midair with EY290 AUH-KTM on 15 Mar 0810UTC
Watch this @flightradar24 12x FF replay of Etihad A320 avoiding Air France B77W after TCAS warning
Heavy congestion at Mumbai ATC due closure of Pakistan airspace for most overflights. pic.twitter.com/3IqAzz60Ir
— Kunda Dixit (@kundadixit) March 18, 2019
Pakistan's airspace remains generally closed to transiting flights. The green highlighted routes are available for transit. The pink routes are Notam'd available, but unusable as they transit to the Mumbai FIR, which is closed to flights to/from Pakistan. https://t.co/9NeSPvJkSy pic.twitter.com/3sva2FphDp — Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) March 18, 2019