Normal air traffic operation among India and Pakistan continued on Tuesday with Pakistan Opened ‘BALAKOT Air Space’ for every single non military personnel flight, almost four-and-half months in the wake of closing it down after the Balakot air strikes.
Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice to pilots (NOTAM) at 12.41 am (IST), expressing that the nation’s airspace has been opened with quick impact for a wide range of common traffic on “distributed ATS (air traffic administration) courses”.
Following Pakistan’s move, India also issued a “revised NOTAM”, announcing that normal air traffic operations have resumed between the two countries.
“Subsequent to Pakistan issuing NOTAM to lift all airspace limitations, India has also issued revised NOTAM immediately. With this, normal air traffic operations have continued through all Flight Information Regions among India and Pakistan.
Hours later, India’s Civil Aviation ministry said, flights had begun utilizing the closed air routes, bringing great relief to airlines and air passengers.
“After cancellations of NOTAMS by Pakistan and India in the early hours today, there are no restriction on airspaces of the two nations, flights have begun utilizing the closed air routes, bringing a huge relief to passengers,” the Twitter handle of the service said.
“This is incredible news. A major help to air passengers,” it included
With this, operational costs of flights are probably going to go down. Air India said costs for one-way US and Europe-bound flights are probably going to descend by Rs 20 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, respectively.
After Pakistan shut down its airspace following the Balakot air strikes of February 26, Air India endured a money related loss of around Rs 491 crore as it needed to re-route its many International flights.
An Air India representative said on Tuesday, “As Pakistan airspace now opens, aircraft utilisation will go up while crew requirement will come down by 25 per cent.
Flight task cost for USA-bound flight may descend by Rs 20 lakh. One-way and for Europe-bound flights, it might descend by Rs 5 lakh. From this evening, flight operation may be on original schedule, meaning as was before the closure of Pakistani airspace”.
Pakistan completely shut its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force (IAF) struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot in retaliation for the Pulwama attack on February 14.
The neighboring nation just opened two of 11 courses from that point forward, both going through the southern area.
On its part, the IAF announced on May 31 that all temporary restrictions imposed on Indian airspace post the Balakot strike had been removed. However, this did not benefit the commercial airliners and they were waiting for Pakistan to fully open its airspace.
While the national carrier lost Rs 491 crore till July 2nd because of the closure of the Pakistan airspace. Private carriers SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir lost Rs 30.73 crore, Rs 25.1 crore and Rs 2.1 crore. Individually, as per information exhibited by Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in the Rajya Sabha on July 3.
Following the air strike, Air India needed to re-route, combine or suspend its International flights interfacing with European and US.
IndiGo, India’s largest airline by domestic market share was unable to take direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul due to the closure of the Pakistan Airspace.
The low-cost carrier started flying the Delhi-Istanbul route in March. It had to take the longer route over the Arabian Sea and make a stop at Doha in Qatar for refuelling.
Pakistan Aviation Secretary, Shahrukh Nusrat had informed a parliamentary panel that Pakistan will not move the Boycott until India expels its jets from forward bases.