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Closure of Pakistani airspace dents Air India profits by INR 600 million

In the wake of hostility between the two neighbouring countries, Indian airlines suffered major losses after closure of Pakistani airspace after Feb 27 when Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian jets that intruded into the former’s territory.

Indian media reports say that flights of several airlines around the world have been either re-routed or cancelled, with as many as 400 flights being affected on a daily basis. Out of all the airlines, Air India is one of the worst-hit airlines.

Air India flights from the US had to take a longer flight path, which extended their already long duration and significantly increased operating expenses.

Read: CAA opens airspace from all sides except India

“The AI Mumbai-New York-Mumbai flight, launched in December 2018, has been combined with the Mumbai-Newark-Mumbai flight for the duration between March 16 and May 31”, the airline tweeted.

Reports suggest that Air India has been affected more than any other airline due to the closure of Pakistan airspace, with a loss of more than Rs 60 crore as of March 16.

The most problematic flights for Air India are flights between India and the US east coast – Washington, New York, Newark and Chicago.

This has resulted in Air India, an airline which was already surviving on government bailouts, to incur heavy revenue losses, a spokesperson said.

Pakistan took the decision to shut its airspace on February 27, sending India a strong message and forcing carriers to reroute flights, after an aerial dogfight between Pakistan and Indian air forces.

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