Air India To Resume Flights Over Pakistan After Airspace Re-Opens

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Pakistan shut its airspace in February which led to significant rise in Air India’s operating costs.

New Delhi: 

With Pakistan reopening its airspace, national carrier Air India will resume flight operations on the Delhi-Kabul and the Lucknow-Najaf routes from August 5 and October 28, respectively, said Air India chief today.

“As Pakistan airspace is now open, we will start the flights on the Delhi-Kabul route from August 5. The flights would run five days per week and we would open the ticket booking for them within one or two days,” Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani said.

“As the demand of flights on the Delhi-Kabul route is very high, we would make it a daily flight in the winter schedule,” he added.

Pakistan had shut its airspace on February 26 due to the Balakot air strike by the Indian Air Force, which resulted in a significant rise in Air India’s operating costs on flights connecting north Indian cities and regions eastward of Pakistan.

In March, Air India had suspended flights on the Lucknow-Najaf, Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham and the Delhi-Kabul routes.

Pakistan opened its airspace on July 16.

Mr Lohani said: “Flights on the Lucknow-Najaf route will start from October 28 this year. We will be operating A320 aircraft on this route.”

The tri-weekly Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham Air India flight would resume its services on August 15, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced last week.

Mr Lohani said the national carrier would start operating a wide-body B787 aircraft on the Delhi-Singapore route in the winter schedule. Currently, the airline operates narrow-body aircraft A320 on this route.

The national carrier lost Rs 491 crore till July 2 due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace, according to data presented by Puri in the Rajya Sabha on July 3.

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