KARACHI: The national flag carrier Pakistan International Airline (PIA) will soon acquire 12 medium range aircraft, Chairman PIA Lt General (R) Asif Yasin Malik said at PIA’s two-day global marketing conference.
Malik said that PIA had to increase its network to achieve better sales. The airline had advised its marketing department to prepare feasibilities on a commercial basis for additional destinations, while emphasising on increasing the frequency of its existing profitable routes.
He added that Pakistan International Airlines should look into the possibility of starting flights to the African continent.
Also speaking on the occasion was PIA Managing Director Muhammad Junaid Yunus, who said that the airlines had the potential to make a turnaround, but they required fuel efficient planes.
“There has been an improving trend in PIA’s performance. In the last six months, the airline losses declined by an average Rs1 billion per month,” he said.
“This has been possible due to strict financial monitoring and adoption of effective cost saving measures.”
Yunus praised the airline’s marketing managers for their sincere efforts in achieving the sale targets and assured director marketing and his team for maximum support by the management.
Undeterred by devastating setbacks faced by private carriers over the past few years, three more business groups have applied for airline licences to start operations in the country, industry officials said.
Rayyan Air, Vision Air and Fly Pakistan Air have decided to enter the market at a time when a shortage of operational aircraft at the state-run Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has created room for more carriers.
Vision Air International and Fly Pakistan Air have filed requests for regular public transport licences with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), while a licence has already been issued to Rayyan Air, officials said.
All three airlines are in different stages of commencing operations. All of them seem committed, but only time will tell how many will actually survive, commented a senior CAA official.
These airlines follow in the footsteps of privately-run Bhoja Air and Indus Air, both of which were issued aviation licences last year.
Within months of its launch, Bhoja’s maiden flight to Islamabad tragically crashed, killing all 127 persons onboard the aircraft. Since then, its aircraft have been grounded and seized by the CAA as the airline struggles to settle insurance claims.
Meanwhile, Indus Air, which is backed by the sponsors of Karakoram Motors, has faced delays in starting its flight services. It had planned to formally take off last year, but has had to set May 1, 2013, as its new launching date.