Logistics

Relief for flyers, airlines as Pak opens airspace

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 16, 2019 Published on July 16, 2019

Flying time to Europe and US cut; air fares on some routes dip

Pakistan opened its airspace for flights to and from India on Tuesday after a ban of almost four-and-a-half months. Air India and SpiceJet were the first to take advantage of the opened airspace. Air India operated its San Francisco-Delhi and SpiceJet its Jaipur-Dubai flight using the airspace.

Air India might also see its flight operations returning to its original schedule later tonight, said a spokesperson for the airline.

Operation cost

“Aircraft utilisation will go up while crew requirement will come down by 25 per cent. Flight operation costs for US-bound flights may come down by ₹20 lakh one way and for Europe-bound flights it may come down by ₹5 lakh,” the spokesperson added.

A spokesperson for IndiGo said its flights via Pakistan will operate as normal after all regulatory clearance.

Others added that Pakistan’s airspace being opened could also lead to air fares from Delhi and Mumbai dropping on some international routes.

“With the ban now lifted, airfares on international flights from cities like Delhi and Mumbai on some routes have dipped by about 35-40 per cent,” said Aloke Bajpai, CEO & Co-founder, ixigo. “The one-way average fare of a Mumbai-Amsterdam flight, which was 1.5 hours longer last week due to the ban, has decreased from ₹40,515 to ₹26,700 this week.”

A spokesperson for Singapore Airlines said the airline was reviewing its “overflight options in relation to Pakistani airspace with the relevant authorities.”

Both India and Pakistan shut their airspace on February 27. While India re-opened its airspace on May 31, Pakistan took almost six weeks more to open its airspace to civilian aircraft.

The closure of the airspace affected the global airline industry. Hardeep Puri, Minister of State for Civil Aviation (Independent Charge), told the Rajya Sabha that Air India lost ₹491 crore till July 2, while IndiGo suffered a loss of ₹25.1 crore till May 31. SpiceJet and GoAir lost ₹30.73 crore and ₹2.1 crore, respectively, till June 20.

 

Read also: Pakistan extends its airspace ban along Indian border till July 26

 

Published on July 16, 2019
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