Hardeep Singh Puri : Air India losing 13 lakh/day on Pakistan air space closure

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Mumbai, July 11 (IANS) Closure of Pakistani airspace following airstrikes by Indian Air Force in Balakot last February has been taking heavy toll on national carrier Air India.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in the Lok Sabha on Thursday that airspcae restriction had resulted in additional operating cost of about Rs 13 lakhs per day while for its affiliate Air India Express, the daily loss is pegged at Rs 22 lakhs due to re-routing of flights.

“This rerouting of Air India flights has resulted in an increase in the operating cost by Rs 13 lakh (approx) per day as the flying time has increased by approximately 15 minutes,” the minister said in written reply.

Puri also said that no additional burden has been put on the passengers and no fare has been increased by the airline due to rout diversion or increase in operating cost.

However, in the initial phase of the closure, Air India had estimated a loss of Rs 6 crore per day.

Pakistan closed its airspace after the Indian Air Force’s February 26 Balakot strike. It, however, partially opened the air space.

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