Islamabad, July 20: Shutting its airspace for months, Pakistan had itself welcomed for its losses which added to the already cash-strapped country. With Islamabad opening its airspace for all civilian flights, it has been reported that the country incurred a loss of over Rs 8 billion due to the closure of its airspace following the Balakot air strike in February.
Addressing a press conference at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) headquarters in Islamabad, Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the CAA suffered a loss of Rs 8.5 billion because of the airspace restrictions.
He said that it's a huge loss for our (Pakistan) overall aviation industry. Covering up for itself, he added that this restriction hit India harder than Pakistan. The loss of India is almost double. But at this juncture detente and harmony are required from both sides. The recent bifurcation of CAA functions into regulatory roles vis-a-vis commercial and service provider is simply to optimise its efficiency and performance.
Khan said that there is no proposal of any downsizing or rightsizing in the CAA after its bifurcation. He said it was government's priority to revamp the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and increase its fleet to 45 by phasing-in 14 new aircraft gradually by 2025, the report said.
Earlier, our domestic airlines did not have space to expand their operations because of open sky policies. Therefore, the open sky policy has now been switched over to fair sky policy which offers equal opportunities to domestic air operators to expand their business. He said security agencies would be equipped with latest equipment and scanners to meet international standards under the Aviation Policy, 2019.
Pakistan fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force (IAF) struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Balakot in retaliation for the Pulwama attack. Normal air traffic operations between India and Pakistan resumed on Tuesday with Islamabad opening its airspace for all civilian flights.