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How Pakistan's continued partial closure of its airspace impacts Afghanistan

An aerial view of the airplane hub at the airport in Karachi, Pakistan. Photograph:( Reuters )

Kabul, Afghanistan Mar 31, 2019, 01.42 PM (IST)

By: Alisher Shahir

The Afghan Civil Aviation Authority said on Sunday that the country has suffered a loss of $8 million as Pakistan's airspace continues to remain closed to flights to and from India. 

Pakistan blocked its airspace to Indian flights on February 27 after the Balakot air strikes.

The head of the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority, Mohammad Qasim Wafaye Zada, said that the continuation of the blockage of Pakistani airspace to flights between Afghanistan and India has resulted in Indian airlines halting all flights to Afghanistan. 

Besides, the closing of Pakistani airspace has caused a loss of $8 million to the Afghan civil aviation sector.

Planes now coming or going to Afghanistan from India have to take a longer route by flying over Iran; that results in greater fuel consumption. This has added to the overall cost, and pushed up ticket prices.

The cost of a one-way ticket on Afghanistan's Ariana and Kam Air from Kabul to Delhi before the closure of Pakistan's airspace was $145 and $160. Those tickets now cost $200 and $300.

The cost of a SpiceJet ticket from Kabul to Delhi earlier was $170; it is now $360.

And a Delhi-to-Kabul flight that earlier used to take less than two hours now takes over five hours.

(Alisher Shahir is a Kabul-based journalist.) 

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)