Six private airlines have applied for the regular public transport (RPT) license to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and would most probably be beginning their operations from the first half of the present year.
The said six airlines are:
- Liberty Air owned by Chaudhry Munir and Mian Amir
- Go Green Airways owned by Elahi Group, Arshad Jalil and Danish Elahi
- Air Sial by the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce
- Askari Air Pakistan by the Army Welfare Trust (AWT)
- Afeef Zara Airways owned by Rashid Siddiqui
- United Airways Pakistan Limited by Adnan Tabbani
Out of these six airlines Air Sial, Go Green (which is the revival of Bhoja Airways under a new name) and Askari Air Pakistan would most probably be starting their flight operations during the first half of 2018 and would not be delaying the operations much later than October of the present year.
As per an aviation professional though the number of launched airlines is good, however, these airlines would not be able to meet the complete domestic traffic needs. Also, the introduction of these airlines would not even have a good impact in terms of creating jobs or of developing of infrastructure in the country as the airline owners would be getting the planes on dry lease and other services would also be outsourced. These airlines would neither be creating job opportunities for the concerned skilled individuals nor it would be upgrading the aviation industry.
The federal government should consider changing the aviation policy 2015 as heavy taxes have been imposed on the airlines as per the new policy. The paid-up capital need has been raised to rupees 500 million from rupees 100 million. The import duties for parts and related engineering services are also extensive and need to be reduced to making the aviation sector competitive with other nations for promoting the maintenance services within the country.
Pakistan International Airlines is the only airline functioning as an industry having its own flight kitchens, its own simulators a source for providing job opportunities to the skilled workers and other professionals. PIA’s practicability has been conceded because of the unrestrained grants of traffic rights given to the GCC airlines.
PIA has lost its business because of the poor aviation policy and many more factors. The airline’s international market share has also reduced from forty-nine percent to twenty to twenty-three percent. It has also decreased its international destinations from a total of fifty to just twenty because of the less number of passengers.
The Afeef Zara Airways’ website shows a picture of the Afeef Zara plane with the caption of “Coming Soon”.
Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has received another request for the RPT airline license from Liberty Air, nothing more is known about this airline.
Askari Pakistan another private airline would be working under the Fauji Foundation along with some other private business partners.
Go Green Airways was officially introduced on the 9th of October 2017 but currently it is waiting for the pilot registration from the concerned authorities.
Air Sial has been provided with the licence by PCAA for beginning its domestic flights. It has also built the first private airport in Sialkot. The airline is expected to begin its operations with four of its planes it has now.
For making the aviation industry conditions better for the Pakistani airlines, the aviation policy requires an enormous review for decreasing the number of foreign gateways. All the significant airports are under-utilised and uneconomical for attracting foreign investors. The situation is accepted to worsen with the inauguration of the new Islamabad airport.
Currently the need it to encourage the hub-and-spoke concept that would be producing more foreign and local traffic and would result in a much better utilisation of the significant airports at Islamabad and Lahore.