The Civil Aviation Authority estimates that the closure of Pakistan’s airspace to commercial flights cost Afghanistan at least $8 million in more than a month.
Pakistan closed its airspace to all commercial flights late in February after escalating tensions with India. The airspace was opened to some certain flights but it is yet to be opened for Afghan flights en route to India.
The Afghan airlines are using Iran’s route for Kabul-New Delhi flights but it has increased the costs as well as the time by two times. The prices, airlines say, have gone up to almost $600 from around $350.
But despite the increase in the prices, the airlines said they have failed to prevent losses in revenues.
The Civil Aviation Authority’s Chairman Mohammad Qasim Wafaeezada, said 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 right currently.
“We hope this issue is resolved as soon as possible; otherwise, we will lose a big amount of revenue we get from transit flights,” he said.
Some foreign media outlets reported late in March that Pakistan had reopened its airspace to Afghanistan airliners, but officials from Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority said they had not received any confirmation from the authorities in Pakistan regarding the reopening of Pakistani airspace for Afghan flights.
Airlines and passengers called on the Afghan government to engage in talks with the Pakistani government and resolve the matter in line with international laws and regulations.
“Most of the people don’t have the capacity to purchase tickets with higher prices. The government should resolve it,” said Bahram, a Kabul resident.