With Pakistan opening its airspace for all commercial airlines on Tuesday morning, Air India said operation costs for one-way US and Europe-bound flights are likely to come down by ₹20 lakh and ₹5 lakh, respectively.
Air India suffered a loss of Rs 430 crore in the 4-month period when airspace was restricted by Pakistan after Balakot air strikes, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri informed Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. He said 40% of the operating expenses of the airline is on fuel & other geo-political factors & closure of airspace by Pakistan cost the airline dearly.
"As Pakistan airspace is now open, aircraft utilisation will go up, while crew requirement will come down by 25 per cent," an Air India spokesperson said.
"Flight operation cost for USA-bound flight may come down by₹20 lakh one way and for Europe-bound flights; it may come down by ₹5 lakh. From tonight, flight operations may be on original schedule, meaning as it was before the closure of Pakistani airspace," he added.
"The flying time for long-haul flights towards the USA increased by 90 minutes and addition fuel was needed. US-bound flights had to be stopped at Vienna. In Vienna, crew was changed and that takes three hours," he said, explaining the effect the closure had on the airline.