State-owned carrier Air India has said operation costs for US-bound flights are likely to come down by Rs 20 lakh as Pakistan opened its airspace for all commercial airlines on Tuesday. The flight operation cost for Europe bound flights will also come down by Rs 5 lakh, according to an official statement.
"Flight operation cost for US-bound flight may come down by Rs 20 lakh and for Europe-bound flights, it may come down by Rs 5 lakh," an Air India spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Earlier today, Pakistan opened its airspace for all civilian traffic, allowing Indian flights to use a majority of its airspace which was closed after the Balakot airstrikes in February. Pakistan had imposed a ban on flights over its air space, for both India-registered airlines and also international carriers, after an Indian Air Force strike on a terror camp in Balakot on February 26.
However, the neighbouring country on March 27 partially opened its airspace for all flights except for Bangkok, New Delhi and Kuala Lumpur.
Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said flight operation would go back to normal from tonight after Pakistan opened its airspace.
Since the closure of Pakistani airspace, the operating cost for domestic carrier had increased significantly as it had to take longer routes for international flights which led to additional fuel usage. Air India had to re-route, merge or suspend many of its international flights that connect India with European and US cities.
"The flying time for US flights had increased by 90 minutes and there were additional fuel costs," Kumar said.
Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) at around 12.41 am Indian Standard Time, stating that "with immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes".
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar