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Pakistan Says Airspace Restrictions After India Clashes Cost $50 Million


A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane (file photo)

The aviation minister of Pakistan says his country suffered losses of more than 8 billion rupees ($50 million) because of airspace restrictions put in place earlier this year amid violent clashes with neighboring India.

“Over 8 billion rupees worth of losses have been suffered by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority,” Ghulam Sarwar Khan told a news conference in Karachi on July 18.

“We don’t have exact figures of losses of their [Indian] civil aviation authorities, but it's more than ours,” Khan added.

India's aviation minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, recently told parliament that Indian air firms -- Air India, SpiceJet, IndiGo, and GoAir -- lost almost $80 million because of the the closure of Pakistani airspace.

Pakistan lies in an important aviation corridor. In February, it closed its airspace to international aviation after a standoff with India in the wake of an attack by a Pakistan-based militant group on a police convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 paramilitary police.

Both countries carried out aerial attacks over each other's territory during the standoff and warplanes fought a brief dogfight over the skies of the disputed Kashmir region.

The closure of the airspace forced international airlines to reroute around Pakistan, costing them time and money.

Partial operations at Pakistani airports resumed once tensions eased, but restrictions continued to affect many international carriers using Pakistani airspace.

Pakistan’s aviation authority on July 16 announced the country’s airspace had been completely reopened to civil aviation.

India’s ministry of civil aviation said there were now no restrictions on airspace in either country.

“Flights have started using the closed air routes, bringing a significant relief for airlines,” it said.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Business Recorder, and the BBC
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