In response to demand from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will launch direct flights from Islamabad to Gwadar as the national airline will seek to attract air traffic and reduce its losses.
The low-caliber national airlines will have more than $ 319.1 billion in losses by the end of March 2017. Now she wants to take away loss-making routes from her agenda while at the same time adding new and profitable destinations to her program.
We would link Islamabad and Gwadar by the end of this year (December 2018), Said PIA Director-General Musharraf Rasool Cyan in an interview with The Express Tribune. As a national airline, we feel responsible for improving Pakistan’s connectivity.
Gwadar’s development is the flagship project under CPEC, and its port, which will be completed this year, connects China with the Arabian Sea. In view of its importance for China and Pakistan, direct flights by the PIA will provide much-needed impetus to reduce their losses.
It also recently dropped flights to New York, causing a loss of Rs 1.5 billion a year. In addition, the new Islamabad airport, scheduled to open in the first half of 2018, will give PIA an edge, CEO Cyan believes.
Cyan said the new Islamabad airport could be the new linchpin Pakistan desperately needs to boost tourism after terrorist losses, and a precarious security situation has rejected both local and foreign tourists.
“We want to make (the new) Islamabad Airport a hub,” Cyan said, adding that the airport would serve passengers traveling from Europe, Africa, China and Asia-Pacific.
“If we think it appropriate, we would improve the connectivity (through code sharing) with other airlines,” he said.
The PIA chief said that the national airline – a long-standing burden on Pakistan’s fiscal operations – would play an important role in the success of the new Islamabad airport. “It has been observed that airports and airlines are growing side by side … PIA would remain the main airline for Islamabad, which would remain just a destination for foreign airlines,” he said.
These days, PIA is developing its office and its stand at the airport with a recently extended credit line of Rs 13.5 billion. From commercial banks and government state guarantee.
The credit line will be used in part to meet the working capital needs and overhaul engines, he added.
The national airline would also fly from Islamabad and Lahore to DG Khan in 2018 and vice versa. She would also increase the frequency of her flights to Multan, Zhob and Turbat.
PIA flies daily to approximately 109 to 110 destinations around the world, including domestic flights. Currently, PIA manages a fleet of 36 aircraft to be expanded to 44 over the next three years.
The PIA CEO said fleet management would also be improved by updating software in the design department. The software would help reduce the time in which faulty aircraft remain grounded for repair and maintenance.
Last year, the faulty aircraft remained on the mainland for a total of 443 days, resulting in a loss of Rs 3.5 billion. “If they had been operational, PIA would have generated additional revenue of Rs 3.5 billion in 2017,” he said.