New Delhi: India has said that it is Pakistan's unilateral decision to close its airspace and up to them to remove any restrictions, even as the step has impacted millions of passengers across the world. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar has said, "The decision to open their airspace has to be taken by them... This is a decision we haven't imposed on Pakistan, this they have taken, they have to remove restrictions, ball in their court, not ours." It has been more than four months since Pakistan closed its airspace for any flights to India.
Pakistan had closed its airspace in February after it launched an attack on Indian military installation in response to Indian strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps in Balakot on February 26.
The closure is impacting many Afghans who travelled to India on a regular basis but now have to pay more to travel. The time taken to travel has also significantly increased from just one and a half hour to more than three hours. Afghanistan has raised the matter with Islamabad many times, but the country hasn't changed its position.
It is also impacting Indian students in central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan due to the non-availability and high cost of flights to India. Many international airlines have cancelled flights to India due to this.
The closure of Pakistan airspace has caused a loss of 100 million dollars to Pakistan. Various Pakistani civil aviation authorities are losing overflight charges, parking and landing charges etc to the tune of 600,000 dollars. In fact, the number of directs flights to Pakistan have also been cancelled and its state-run national airlines Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which is already under tremendous pressure, is facing more loss of revenue.