Pakistan’s aviation minister said on Friday that the country suffered a loss of 8.5 billion Pakistani rupees (Rs 366 crore or $53 million) because of its decision to close its airspace to Indian flights following the Balakot strikes by the Indian Air Force on February 26, Reuters reported.
“It’s a huge loss for our overall [aviation] industry,” Ghulam Sarwar Khan told reporters in Karachi. However, Khan was quick to add that India lost more money than Pakistan.
“But this restriction hit India harder than Pakistan,” Khan said, according to PTI. “The loss of India is almost double. But at this juncture detente and harmony are required from both sides.”
While India had lifted the ban on Pakistani civilian jets using its airspace on May 31, Pakistan lifted its ban only on July 16. Pakistan Aviation Secretary Shahrukh Nusrat had told a Parliamentary panel earlier this week that Pakistan will not lift the ban until India removed its fighter jets from forward bases.
Earlier this month, India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told the Rajya Sabha that Indian airlines had suffered losses worth at least Rs 549 crore due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace. Air India had incurred a loss of Rs 491 crore as of July 2 while private airline SpiceJet lost Rs 30.73 crore till June 20, IndiGo lost Rs 25.1 crore till May 31, and GoAir suffered losses worth Rs 2.1 crore till June 20, according to the data provided by Puri.