Path restoration (PR) is one of the basic mechanisms for securing telecommunication networks against failures. In the paper, we discuss the complexity of certain variants of a multi-commodity flow network optimisation problem in directed graphs related to state-independent path restoration mechanisms. We demonstrate that most variants of the considered problem are -hard. Depending on the variant, we show how the problem can be reduced either from the partition problem or from the problem of finding an arc-disjoint pair of paths that connect two distinct pairs of nodes. We also demonstrate that at the same time the considered problem is difficult to approximate. The complexity results of the paper are important as they can help to devise proper algorithms for resilient network design tools. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.