According to news reports Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is not pleased with Civil Aviation Authority’s decision to allow Virgin Atlantic to operate flights within Pakistan. It went as far as terming the decision as a grave injustice to the PIA.
As per sources within the PIA, the national airline has been facing serious financial challenges. The ban imposed on PIA by the European Air Safety Agency (EASA) is partly the reason behind the challenges. PIA administration argues that CAA permitting the British airlines would only exacerbate the national carrier’s financial woes.
Pakistan International Airlines’ financial woes
The CEO of Pakistan International Airlines Air Marshal, Arshad Malik, has also announced that he will raise the issue before Prime Minister Imran Khan in a high-level meeting scheduled to be held next week.
Aviation Minister, Ghulam Sarwar, and Director General CAA along with other senior officials are also expected to attend the meeting.
On Monday, the first flight by the British airline Virgin Atlantic landed at the Lahore International airport from London, reported ARY news. There were 150 passengers on board, who were met with a warm welcome upon landing by the airport staff and the UK consulate.
“A historic day”
The first flight of the British airline also landed at the Islamabad airport from Manchester last week. Christian Turner, British High Commissioner to Pakistan, extended his good wishes when the inaugural flight of the British airline landed in Pakistan.
“It is a historic day today as Virgin Atlantic is now flying to Pakistan. 18 months ago we had no British carriers flying here, today, we have over 20 direct flights a week. This is a sign of real confidence in Pakistan. I welcome all the passengers from Manchester today,” expressed Christian Turner in a video from the British High Commission Islamabad.
— PIA (@Official_PIA) November 12, 2020
Air Marshal Arshad Malik will apprise the premier of the concerns of Pakistan International Airlines regarding CAA’s decision to permit the European airline to operate in Pakistan at a time when the national carrier is facing EASA’s ban.
He will also brief the PM about Pakistan International Airlines’ performance this year and the financial challenges resulting from EASA’s travel restrictions.
Note that CAA had allowed Virgin Atlantic to operate regular flights from Pakistan last week.
GVS News Desk