PIA flights to Baku start taking off on March 16

Our Correspondent
Saturday, Mar 12, 2022

KARACHI: The Pakistan International Airlines will be operating two weekly direct flights to Baku, the capital of central Asian country Azerbaijan from March 16. The flights will be operated from Karachi and Lahore.

PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez on Friday said that the national carrier was also upbeat on a positive response from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for allowing PIA to run direct flights to Australia.

PIA CEO Arshad Malik has also recently met Khazar Farhadov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Pakistan.

Hafeez said that they were expecting a response by the end of March and if CASA allots slots then PIA could start its operations from April 22. PIA would be using its 777LR aircraft for that purpose.

International aviation firm, IATA Consultancy had also pointed out new destinations for PIA that included Baku in its comprehensive report, which recommended a list of actions that the state-owned loss-making enterprise should take to become profitable.

The IATA plan, among other things, also recommended the PIA fleet to grow from the current 29 to 49 by 2026, comprising 16 wide body, 27 narrow body and six turbo propeller aircraft.

The fleet should be used to expand on current productive routes of UK, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Gulf sectors as well as be operated on identified markets of Baku, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Kuwait, Tehran, Urumqi and Singapore.

IATA’s business plan for PIA, which if implemented, would see the loss-making state-owned enterprise making its

operations break even by 2025 and record 3.4 percent profits the next year.

The plan covers the period from 2022 to 2026.

The implementation of the plan would see PIA assets going up from the current $1.196 billion to $2.183 billion by 2026.

The airline reported losses of Rs50 billion during the calendar year in 2021 against 34.6 billion in 2020, witnessing a 47 percent surge in losses. Total accumulated losses of PIA have been rising and stood in the range of Rs400 to Rs500 billion.