Sun, 18 Aug 2019

Islamabad [Pakistan], July 19 (ANI): Pakistan lost around PKR 8.5 billion due to the closure of its airspace, according to Pakistan's Federal Minister for Aviation, Ghulam Sarwar Khan.

The airspace was shut by Pakistan after India carried out airstrikes to eliminate terror camps in Pakistan's Balakot, following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, which took the lives of over 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack in Pulwama.

"It's a huge loss for our overall [aviation] industry," Khan said, according to Dawn.

The nation recently reopened its airspace to all civil traffic on June 16, a move which was welcomed by the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation.

In mid-April, Pakistan opened one of its 11 air routes for westbound flights from India -- airlines like Air India and Turkish Airlines had started using it. In March, the neighboring country partially opened its airspace but did not allow Indian flights to use it.

Foreign carriers using Indian airspace were forced to take costly detours because of the Pakistan airspace closure. The closure mainly affected flights from Europe to Southeast Asia.

Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor and the airspace restrictions impacted hundreds of commercial flights per day, extending flight timings for passengers, as well as fuel costs for airlines. (ANI)

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