Pakistan International Airlines, (PIA) is planning to run two weekly flights to Australia. Direct flight to Australia would reduce the traveling time by one-third between Australia and Pakistan.
“If it (flights to Australia by a Pakistani carrier) happens, it would be happening for the first time,” said PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez. “We have run the feasibility, which says it would be beneficial for the airline.”
PIA is currently planning to run two weekly flights from Karachi and Lahore to Sydney. Later, Islamabad will be added as well. PIA claims that if everything goes as planned, they will be able to start flight operations to Australia by the end of March or early April.
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PIA is currently waiting for the approval from Australia Aviation Authority. The traveling time will be reduced to 12.30 to 13 hours with direct flights. Currently, due to the non-availability of direct flights and stopovers, it takes 34 to 35 hours to reach Australia from Pakistan and to return.
“Every airline has to touch their hub before moving towards their destination,” said Travel Agents Association of Pakistan (TAAP) Chairman Nadeem Sharif. “There can be stopovers of eight hours or even overnight stays, which increases traveling time.”
PIA Announces Direct Flights From Pakistan To Australia pic.twitter.com/dWBKx9z0jD
— Nadia Asghar Pti (@NadiaAsgharPti) February 16, 2022
PIA heading towards success?
Recently, a foreign consultant, IATA Consultants, has given a synopsis to PIA, according to which the national carrier will be able to reach break-even by 2025 and will record 3.4 percent profits next year. The business plan covers the period from 2022 to 2026.
The same business plan claims PIA will see its assets growing up from the current $1.196 billion to $2.183 billion. PIA reported a loss of Rs.34.6 billion in 2020.
Pakistan's national carrier *hopes* to start flights to Australia. This is hard to believe now, but Karachi was once a major flying hub for Asia. Let's see what happens. https://t.co/8YmpD59I0v
— Diaa Hadid ضياء حديد (@diaahadid) February 16, 2022
In January, PIA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Air Marshal Arshad Malik said that the reforms process in Pakistan International Airlines would continue, as it significantly helped in bringing down the per aircraft employees ratio to 260, which was 550 in 2017.
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He, in a press statement issued here, said that the world’s best airlines maintained their staff strength against per plane at 200-250. He expressed confidence that with the arrival of new aircraft in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) fleet in 2022; the per plane employees’ ratio would further come down to 220.
“The PIA will save around Rs8 billion annually with a reduction of its staff strength,” the CEO said, adding that the key elements of the reforms process were ensuring discipline. Around 1,900 PIA employees opted for voluntary separation, 837 faced termination due to fake degrees and 1,000 ghost employees were shown the door, besides it initiated action against 1,100 for violating rules and discipline and committing corruption.