Kashmir issue: Pakistan closes three air routes for Indian carriers
The move would affect Air India's flights going to Europe, US, and Middle East.
Amid rising tension between India and Pakistan over the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution ending special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Islamabad has closed down three out of nine air routes for Indian carriers.
The move, second this year, would affect national carrier Air India's flights going to Europe, the US, and Middle East among others.
Flying time of around 50 flights will increase by about 10-15 minutes.
"The major route which we use for our long haul flights are still open and hence the impact is not much right now but we have got initial inputs that the remaining air routes will be shut.
"The impact will be huge as flying time for our ultra long haul flights using Pakistani airspace would increase by 2-3 hours," a senior Air India official told IANS.
The flag carrier had suffered a massive loss of Rs 430 crore due to another air space closure by Pakistan following the Balakot airstrike by the Indian Air Force in February.
The current closure of air space is being seen as retaliation by Pakistan to India's decision ending the autonomy given to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
On Wednesday, Pakistan announced that it is expelling the Indian High Commissioner and suspending bilateral trade with its nuclear-armed neighbour.
"We will call back our ambassador from Delhi and send back their envoy," foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced in televised comments, while a government statement declared that Pakistan will suspend trade in a downgrading of diplomatic ties between the arch rivals.
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