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India removes restriction on air space usage

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 31, 2019 Published on May 31, 2019

Pakistan expected to follow suit

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday said in a tweet that it has removed all the temporary restrictions on all air routes in the Indian air space. The Indian Air Force had put temporary airspace restrictions on Indian air space on February 27.

The tweet is expected to set the ball rolling for Pakistan to remove similar restrictions that it has placed on use of its air space. The IAF put the air space restrictions a day after its fighter bombed Balakot in Pakistan territory.

The restrictions are being removed less than 24 hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his second term.

Incidentally, Pakistan had extended the restriction on Indian aircraft over flying its territory till June 15 earlier this week.

Explaining the process of removing the ban on the air space, sources said that on February 27 India did not allow any aircraft flying over Pakistan airspace to use any of the 11 to 12 entry and exit points into India which had been established and were open before that date.

Pakistan followed suit and it also banned all aircraft flying from India into its airspace to continue their onward journeys.

As a result of the ban over the Pakistan and part of Afghanistan’s air space, Indian carriers’ flights from Delhi and Mumbai to and from Europe and US added about 90-120 minutes to their flying time leading to inconvenience for flyers.

The usual route is over Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Gulf and into Europe for Europe bound flights, while the US and Canada bound flights fly down from Scandinavia which is the shortest route to that region.

With a wide-body, Boeing 777 which consumes about 8 tonnes of fuel for an hour of flying, a Boeing 787 consumes about 5-6 tonnes of fuel for an hour of flying and a narrow body Boeing 737 MAX or Airbus A 320 New Engine Option consumes 2 tonnes of fuel for an hour of flying, carriers’ cost of operations between India and the US and Europe increased during the ban.

The closure of Pakistan airspace for flights coming to India saw a number of international airlines including Air Canada suspend operations to India. In addition, Air India’s flights operating to US, Canada and Europe had to make technical halts on flights which were earlier non-stop.

Published on May 31, 2019
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