Syed Zia Alumdar Hussain—the President of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) said that the lost glory of the national flag carrier could only be revived via professional work and encouraging policies.
He proposed that 14 days advance booking for Faisalabad-Dubai flights reflects the excessiveness of passengers on this commercially potential route and PIA should start direct flights from Faisalabad to Dubai.
He indicated that a few years back, PIA was operating only a few flights between Faisalabad and Karachi despite there being an enormous untapped potential for passenger and cargo traffic. But, later a number of foreign airlines began operations from Faisalabad and currently sixty to seventy flights land at the airport of Faisalabad.
He applauded the CEO PIA for starting 4 direct flights between Faisalabad and Jeddah, saying that being the national flag carrier of Pakistan it is a must to capitalize on the opportunities.
He expressed hope that presently, 5lac passengers travel from Faisalabad and they expect the number to increase to 8lac in the span of next 2 to 3 years.
While discussing the cargo load in Faisalabad, he indicated that average 1,000 tons of cargo was needed to be shipped from the city on a per day basis, however, PIA was unable to accommodate that much, it could just manage 400 tons and exporters had to send their shipments via Lahore and Sialkot airports.
He added that most of these shipments are for London, Birmingham and Manchester. Therefore, he asked PIA to initially start operating wide-body passenger aircraft on these routes and in later phases more passenger flights or a dedicated freight service could also be introduced.
He also said that PIA should devise a viable strategy to avoid delay in the air shipment of dry cargo during the mango and kinnow season.