Afghanistan faces massive revenue loss due to Pakistan airspace closure

Kabul: The Civil Aviation Authority of Afghanistan on Monday said that the country has suffered an estimated revenue loss of around USD eight million in more than a month pertaining to closure of Pakistan’s airspace.

Pakistan had closed its airspace late in February amid escalating tensions with India following the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 in which around 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives. The airspace was, however, opened to some
flights but it is yet to be opened for Afghan flights en route to India.

Due to the closure, Afghan airlines that have been using Iran’s route for Kabul-New Delhi flights has increased the costs as well as the time by two times. But the airlines have continued to incur losses in revenues, Tolo News reported.

Mohammad Qasim Wafaeezada, Chairman of Afghan Civil Aviation Authority, said that there were six air routes through Pakistan’s airspace between Kabul and New Delhi.

More than 250 flights crossed Afghanistan’s airspace towards Pakistan on a daily basis when the airspace was opened but now the number has reduced to nine, he added.

“We hope this issue is resolved as soon as possible, otherwise we will lose a big amount of revenue we get from transit flights,” Wafaeezada was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Afghan-based airlines have urged the government to engage in talks with the Pakistani government to resolve the matter as soon as possible keeping in tune with international laws and regulations.

Last month, sources from the Indian government said that all flights, including international flights, flying westward from/over Pakistan are not being allowed to fly over India by Pakistan, even though India has not put any such restriction.