Thursday, April 9, 2015

IATA Says Pakistan Among Fastest Growing Domestic Air Travel Markets

IATA (International Air Transport Association) forecasts Pakistan domestic air travel will grow at least 9.5% per year, more than 2X faster than the world average annual growth rate of 4.1% over the next 20 years. The Indian and Brazilian domestic markets will grow at 6.9% and 5.4% respectively.

Source: CAA Via Express Tribune 

In a clear sign of Pakistan's rising middle class choosing air travel,  the number of domestic and international air travelers in Pakistan grew by 8% to 17.9 million in fiscal year 2013-14 compared to previous year, recording the fastest growth in passenger traffic in the last three years, according to data provided by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and published by Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper. Growth in air travel is pushing new airport upgrades and new construction to handle more passengers. Examples of new or upgraded airports include Islamabad, Multan and Sialkot.

Chinese domestic air travel market will surpass the US market to claim the number 1 spot by 2030, according to figures released by by IATA. Currently the ninth largest market, India will see a total of 367 million passengers by 2034, an extra 266 million annual passengers compared to today. It will overtake the United Kingdom (148 million extra passengers, total market 337 million) to become the 3rd largest market around 2031.

Pakistan International Airlines, the nation's state-owned carrier, is continuing to lose both market share and money in the midst of explosive growth in air travel. Pakistan's private carriers Shaheen, Air Blue and Indus Air and foreign carriers like Emirates and Saudia have benefited at the expense of PIA.

"It is an exciting prospect to think that in the next 20 years more than twice as many passengers as today will have the chance to fly. Air connectivity on this scale will help transform economic opportunities for millions of people," IATA chief Tony Tyler said in his comments on the report. In 20 years' time, "we can expect aviation to be supporting around 105 million jobs and USD six trillion in GDP," he said.

Sensing the opportunity, the government of Pakistan has recently announced a new national aviation policy, NAP 2015, to attract new investments in the aviation sector. It reduces or eliminates a number taxes and duties on investments.  Announcing the policy, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “The present taxes and duties on the aviation sector are unjustified, and a major hurdle in the growth of travel and cargo handling through air.”

The NAP 2015 offers a bilateral “Open Skies Policy” to other countries, based on reciprocity; a level playing field for domestic and national airlines, and the liberalized aviation sector by allowing markets to determine the price, quality, frequency and range of air services options; and taxes structured and simplified in line with the best international practices to promote transportation,  spur GDP growth and create jobs.

It's good to see that the aviation sector in Pakistan is finally beginning to get the attention it deserves as a growth market to increase investment, improve service to travelers and create new jobs.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Middle Class Grows to 55% of Population

Saving PIA, Education and Railway

E-Commerce Growth in Pakistan

Pakistan's Official GDP Figures Ignore Booming FMCG Sector

Musharraf Accelerated Human and Economic Development in Pakistan

Pakistan's Growing Middle Class

Pakistan's GDP Grossly Under-estimated; Shares Highly Undervalued

Fast Moving Consumer Goods Sector in Pakistan

3G-4G Roll-out in Pakistan

Mobile Money Revolution in Pakistan


Monis R. said...

This is very evident by just looking at the airport rush. Traveling through Lahore airport now feels like hajj! The motorcycle data proxy is a really good one for middle class growth also because a significant percentage upgrade to cars within five years. Need to dig that up.

Singh said...

It shows the absence of a robust railway network in a small country like Pakistan (geographically) which would have boosted the domestic economy !!!

Riaz Haq said...

Singh: "It shows the absence of a robust railway network in a small country like Pakistan (geographically) which would have boosted the domestic economy !!!"

Pakistan is geographically small? What a revelation. 1600 Km from Karachi to Peshawar is small? 1300 Km from Karachi to Lahore is small? 700 Km from Karachi to Quetta is small? How long would bus or train take to cover this distance? Do you think professionals and businessmen have a lot of spare time?

S. Qureshi said...

PM orders to upgrade Faisalabad Airport within 90 days in order to enable direct international flights to and from the city. Qatar Airways had announced to start a Faisalabad-Doha flight from July 17, 2015.

Also, Ecnec approved Rs26.59B for new Gwadar Airport project.

S Qureshi said...

An international airport has been planned for Mirpur, Azad Kashmir. In August 2013 the national assembly and the prime minister approved confirmation of the airport. It was determined that the airport would be constructed in two years after funding had been made.

Anonymous said...

Nice. But someone should ease the travel restrictions between India and Pakistan. I really want to go to Lahore to see the beautiful city.

Anonymous said...

Has the railways improved? I do not know much about Pakistani railways. Some articles say that though Pakistani railways is nothing compared to our Indian Railways, their waterways are awesome.

Suhail H. said...

No doubt Pakistan's air travel would be growing much faster because railway and road travel is fast diminishing unlike other countries. Pakistan has no faster trains than 50 years ago, whereas all other countries referenced in your article would have modernized their railways.
Roads in Pakistan are increasingly dilapidated and with security issues people avoid long distance road travel, unlike other countries where road travel would be increasing.
In order for a realistic analysis, you should include growth figures of all travel options. As a thumb rule, whenever you see Pakistani figures well ahead of international, you need to pause, reflect and analyze critically rather than happily go ahead and publish.
Middle classes have no option but to adopt air travel, which is usually for their essential needs, and is increasingly getting hard pressed to make ends meet. The growth or plight of middle classes is a separate issue needing a different set of parameters.

Riaz Haq said...

Suhail: "No doubt Pakistan's air travel would be growing much faster because railway and road travel is fast diminishing unlike other countries."

Explosion of air travel is an indication that Pakistan is going through what the developed world went through a couple of decades ago with rapid expansion in middle class and deregulation of airline industry.

Air travel offers cheaper, faster and safer option for traveling long distances like Karachi-Lahore (1300 Km), Karachi-Islamabad (1500Km) At the same time, road network has been expanding rapidly and as are the bus services like Daewoo bus service for shorter distances and for those who have more time to travel.

All this is part of the trend in transportation: More efficient private sector (bus and air travel) doing what the public sector (trains) used to do everywhere around the world. Even the freight has moved off the trains to the roads and the skies with the growth of online commerce.

Daewoo alone owns a fleet of 380 buses that serves over 50 cities and 6 million passengers every year. It also employs over 4,000 workers, 12 percent of whom are women, and IFC’s investment will help Daewoo Express create more jobs as it expands its operations.

Niazi Express is another bus service that has a fleet of over 200 buses serving 20+ destinations.

Admi said...

I frequently travel by ICE (fastest train in Germany, express speed 300km/hr) and by air.
Hamburg to Munich 800km takes 6hrs. While flight takes only 1:15hr, and the airfare is not costlier very often.

Riaz Haq said...

World Bank and ICAO data shows domestic passenger traffic in Pakistan grew 20% over three years from 2010 (6.5 million) to 2013 (7.8 million).

Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

The WB data table that you have quoted shows that India's air travel has gone up from 64 mio to 75 mio in the same period. Which means that India's air travel population is 9.5 X times Pakiland while population ratio is 7.0 times.


Riaz Haq said...

Majumdar: "Which means that India's air travel population is 9.5 X times Pakiland while population ratio is 7.0 times. "

Yes, that is today. The IATA forecast I have shared is for growth over next 20 years.

Bubba said...

Aviation sector handlers should look into the insane prices of domestic air travel ! No where in the world people pay 12k-17k for a 1 hr 45 minutes domestic flight but it's there in our beloved country

Riaz Haq said...

Bubba: "Aviation sector handlers should look into the insane prices of domestic air travel ! No where in the world people pay 12k-17k for a 1 hr 45 minutes domestic flight but it's there in our beloved country"

Not true. Americans routinely pay more than $150 for one and half hour domestic flights.

Bubba said...

for someone in the US earning 1500 USD/ month ; buying a 150$ ticket is relatively more easier than the one who is earning just 50k in pakistan to afford a 15k domestic flight ticket

Riaz Haq said...

Bubba: "for someone in the US earning 1500 USD/ month ; buying a 150$ ticket is relatively more easier than the one who is earning just 50k in pakistan to afford a 15k domestic flight ticket"

The biggest expense of operating airlines is fuel which costs the same. Labor is next and yes, it's cheaper in the airlines in Pakistan can be more profitable and Pakistani private airlines (not PIA) do make good profits.

Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

Although fuel costs are the same there are some issues. First, in India taxes are much higher on ATF as it is perceived to be a "luxury" product, dunno whether it is true of Pakiland.

Second issue is that air infra if often poorer in India (again not sure whether applicable to Pakiland), so congestion leads to greater airtime for planes compared to the West which worsens fuel economy.

Perhaps you can throw some light on fuel taxation and congestion issues in pakiland.

Finally, in both countries capital costs are much higher.


Riaz Haq said...

Air Arabia announced today that the city of Multan in Pakistan will join its route network next month, bringing the total number of destinations in the country served by the region’s first and largest low-cost carrier to six.

Located on the banks of the Chenab River, Multan is home to more than three million people and is Pakistan’s fifth largest city. It is an important cultural and commercial centre with a strong economy largely based on industry and agriculture.

Multan joins Karachi, Peshawar, Sialkot, Lahor and Islamabad as Pakistani cities served by regular direct Air Arabia flights from Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah International Airports.

Adel A. Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia, said: “With a population of more than 180 million and within just a few hours flight time from the UAE, Pakistan has always been a promising market for Air Arabia. We have established a comprehensive network of destinations spanning the country and brought Air Arabia’s value for money proposition within easy reach of millions of people flying between the UAE and Pakistan. We look forward to further investing in increasing our reach in Pakistan by offering more destinations and flights in the near future.”

Starting May 1, 2015, Air Arabia will operate services to Multan on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Flights will depart Sharjah International Airport at 04:45 and land in Pakistan at 08:20. Return flights will operate on the same days, leaving Multan International Airport at 09:00 before arriving in Sharjah at 10:50. Local Time.

2015 has witnessed a number of significant additions to the Air Arabia network. In January, it was the first low-cost airline from the Middle East and Africa to enter the Chinese market with the launch of services to Urumqi, the largest city in Western China. The carrier also added Isfahan and Sanandaj in Iran and Gizan in Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of the year, as well increased the frequency of services on a number of existing routes.

Riaz Haq said...

The government sold its entire stake in the country’s largest private-sector bank for $1.02 billion Saturday, the biggest so far in a series of divestitures planned to help revive Pakistan’s economy.

The government approved a strike price of 168 Pakistani rupees, about $1.68, per share, for its 41.5% stake, or 609 million shares, in Habib Bank Ltd. on Saturday, compared with the floor price of 166 rupees, or $1.66, set at the start of book-building, which began Tuesday.

Pakistan’s privatization minister Mohammad Zubair said the stake was “heavily oversubscribed,” with offers worth $1.6 billion for 955 million shares, of which $1.2 billion was offered by foreign investors.

“This is by far the largest in Pakistan’s history, the demand that we got,” Mr. Zubair said. “It’s also the largest for any Asian frontier market country.”

Of the $1.02 billion raised, the finance ministry said $764 million was foreign investment.

“The bulk of this money, $764 million dollars [from international investors], will boost foreign exchange reserves, which will stabilize the currency further, which in turn will have a positive impact on inflation,” Mr. Zubair said.

Pakistan had $16.7 billion in total liquid foreign exchange reserves as of April 3, according to the central bank.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government has made privatization and divestitures from as many as 31 state enterprises major components of its plan to boost Pakistan’s economy, especially its foreign exchange reserves. Mr. Sharif’s government has already sold shares in United Bank, Allied Bank and energy company Pakistan Petroleum Ltd. A plan to sell a portion of the government’s stake in the Oil and Gas Development Co. Ltd., the country’s largest oil and gas business, for $800 million was abandoned in November because of poor investor demand.

The sale of the government’s Habib Bank stake is Pakistan’s largest capital market transaction in a decade, officials said. The government is currently working on the privatization of Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Steel Mills and several power distribution companies, finance ministry and privatization commission officials said.

Brokers and analysts said interest in the Habib Bank shares was boosted by strong participation by foreign investors.

“The response was far better than earlier expected. Nobody expected that it could cross a billion dollars,” said Mohammed Sohail, chief executive of Topline Securities, a brokerage based in Karachi, Pakistan. “Investors globally are looking at Pakistan positively, especially because of the gradual economic recovery over the last two years.”

Habib Bank has Pakistan’s largest deposit base and the most extensive network of branches. It has operations in 29 countries, according to the bank’s website. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development bought a 51% stake in the bank when it was privatized in 2004.

Riaz Haq said...

THOSE in search of a thriving stockmarket, a stable currency and low inflation would not normally pitch up in Pakistan. It is more readily thought of as a pit of instability than as a source of opportunity. Yet Pakistan is enjoying a rare period of optimism about its economy.

The IMF reckons that the economy will grow by 4.7% next year, the fastest rate in eight years. Consumer prices rose by 2.5% in the year to March, the smallest increase for more than a decade. Twice already this year the central bank has lowered its benchmark interest rate. Some indicators are pointing to an upturn in spending. Compared with a year earlier, cement sales, which are a guide to how much construction is taking place, rose by 5.5% from July to March. Car sales rose by 22% over the same period.

A fall of two-fifths in the oil price is a huge slice of luck for a country such as Pakistan. It relies on imported fuel oil for two-fifths of its power supply and is prone to periodic balance-of-payments crises (see chart). The country’s import bill can easily overwhelm the foreign-exchange earnings from textile exports and the remittances that Pakistanis working in the Middle East and Europe send home. In 2013-14 Pakistan’s net import bill for oil came to $12.6 billion, or around 5% of GDP. But if oil prices stay low, Pakistan could save a total of $12 billion in the next three years, says the IMF. The money could be spent on things with more local content and give the economy a lift.

The government of Nawaz Sharif takes some credit for the economy’s new stability. It has stuck to an IMF programme agreed to in 2013, a few months after it came to power in Pakistan’s first-ever handover from one civilian government to another. Foreign-exchange reserves have more than doubled, to $17.7 billion. Electricity tariffs have been raised, and some unpaid bills collected, easing the cash burden on hard-pressed distribution companies. Tax receipts have risen, albeit from pitiful levels, in response to efforts to broaden the base and cut exemptions. The revenue agency has sent over 150,000 tax notices to non-payers. More retailers are being drawn into the indirect-tax net. A draft budget aims to bring the budget deficit below 4% of GDP in 2015-16, from a peak of over 8%.

A privatisation drive that stalled last June resumed in April, when the government sold its stake in Habib Bank, the country’s largest lender, for $1 billion. Three-quarters of bids came from foreign investors. Pakistan’s stockmarket has doubled in dollar terms since the start of 2012, thanks in large part to such foreign interest. Privatisations will only add to the market’s variety and appeal. Listed companies are highly profitable, although in part because they often face too little competition.

Visitors to Pakistan are surprised to discover good roads and a strong business culture. The country is mid-table in the World Bank’s ease-of-doing-business rankings, well above India. The infrastructure is solid enough to support big fast-food chains: McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and Subway have 187 outlets between them, more than in all of Sub-Saharan Africa’s “frontier” economies combined, says Daniel Salter, of Renaissance Capital, a stockbrokers.

The progress in providing economic stability is encouraging. But Pakistan needs sustained growth of 5-7% a year if it is markedly to cut poverty—at the last count, nearly a quarter of Pakistanis were below the poverty line. There are doubts to whether Mr Sharif has the strength and authority to implement deeper reforms. Despite a better electricity industry, power shortages remain a bugbear. Big firms in textiles, which account for over half of Pakistan’s exports, have long taken to generating their own electricity.

Riaz Haq said...

UAE’s budget carrier Air Arabia has added Pakistani city of Quetta to its list of destinations, making it the Sharjah-based carrier’s seventh destination in Pakistan.

“We now have seven of Pakistan's biggest cities covered with direct services from two airports in the UAE and we hope to add more in the future as part of our ongoing commitment to serve the country,” said Adel A. Ali, Group CEO of Air Arabia.

Quetta services will commence on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

Quetta joins Karachi, Peshawar, Sialkot, Lahore, Islamabad and Multan as Pakistani cities served by direct Air Arabia flights from Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah airports.

On May 21, another UAE carrier, Flydubai, announced direct flights to Quetta in Pakistan from June 11, 2015, with three flights a week.

Riaz Haq said...

The UAE has updated air service agreement with Pakistan allowing open skies approach on new points in Pakistan including Quetta, Turbat, Gwadar, Panjgur as well as increased passenger capacity to Karachi, Faisalabad, Multan and Sialkot.

The two-day negotiations between both parties resulted in signing an updated air service agreement between Pakistan and the UAE. Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director-general, General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), signed the agreement on behalf of UAE while Amjad Ali Toor, additional secretary for aviation division, signed on behalf of Pakistan. The signing ceremony was also attended by UAE ambassador to Pakistan Isa Basha Al Noaimi, Khaleej Times reported. Al Suwaidi stressed the importance of this updated agreement which will contribute to boost trade, tourism and investment between UAE and Pakistan.

During his visit, Al Suwaidi toured the new airport in Islamabad which will be inaugurated in the second half on 2016 with a capacity to handle 50 million passengers.

Ms Laila Ali bin Hareb Al Muhairi, assistant of director-general of strategy and international affair at GCAA, said that UAE ranks second internationally in term of open skies agreements.

“UAE is driven more than ever to continue its international collaboration in air transport and shall continue its far-reaching and sound advances toward opening and liberating skies with countries of the world,” she added.

Riaz Haq said...

#UAE's Air Arabia set to expand flights to #Pakistan. New flights to #Quetta, #Faisalabad added.

UAE-based Air Arabia has named Faisalabad as the latest city to join its rapidly growing Pakistan route network.
When flights to the country's third largest city start in October, Faisalabad will join Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Quetta and Sialkot as Pakistani cities served from the UAE by the low-cost carrier.
Faisalabad is a city of more than two million people located in the province of Punjab. A major centre of industry and manufacturing, the city is estimated to contribute approximately one fifth of Pakistan's total GDP.
"Air Arabia has a long-standing commitment to serve the Pakistan market and we are proud to operate an exceptionally comprehensive route network covering the length and breadth of the country," said Adel A Ali, Group CEO of Air Arabia.

Riaz Haq said...

Having secured additional rights of operations from the Pakistani government, Dubai-based international airline, Emirates, is all set to deprive the domestic carriers, including Pakistan International Airlines, Shaheen Airlines and Air Blue, of their share in the industry.

Emirates, which started its operations in March 1985 after getting two planes from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), now operates in 78 countries with 3,300 flights per week.

Recently, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given it additional rights to operate in Quetta, Panjgur, Turbat and Gwadar, diverting the local passengers from the national carriers to Emirates for direct flights to Dubai and other countries of the world.

“This is a big loss to the Pakistani airlines including Shaheen and PIA as the passengers of these cities were using services of national carriers. Three American airlines are fighting against Emirates’ operations in USA, but the Pakistani government was giving more and more rights to Emirates. This is not fair,” said a PIA official.

“On the other hand, the government has been trying to privatise PIA for the last several years. Is the government trying to sell off the country to foreigners or what? How are the domestic stakeholders supposed to flourish if the government keeps on facilitating international companies?” he questioned.

According to CAA, on June 5, 2015, Bilateral Air Services Agreement talks between Pakistan and United Arab Emirates were held in Islamabad. The talks were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere regarding all outstanding issues.

Landmark changes in the new agreement include opening up four airports of Balochistan; Quetta, Panjgur, Turbat, and Gwadar, to five airlines of UAE for unlimited operations, a CAA official said, adding that this will facilitate the citizens of these districts to fly abroad directly from their hometowns.

However, the CAA official said that traffic rights to the airlines of UAE for Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar have been frozen at the current level for the time being due to infrastructural constraints at these airports. For Karachi, the open skies arrangements between Dubai and Karachi concluded in 1998 remains intact.

“Pakistani airlines, on the other hand, will enjoy unlimited traffic rights from all airports of Pakistan to all airports of UAE. Our airlines would also be free to operate beyond UAE to any other country of the world,” he added.

“The additional services to Karachi and the introduction of Multan to our network will position Pakistan as Emirates’ fourth most highly served country worldwide with 80 return flights a week operating between Dubai and Pakistan,” said West Asia and Indian Ocean Commercial Operations Senior Vice President Ahmed Khoory.

Moreover, the three big US airlines – Delta Air Lines, United Continental Holdings and American Airlines Group – alleged that Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar airlines received more than $42 billion in “unfair subsidies” from the Gulf government. As a result, the Gulf carriers are able to take the US airlines’ market by offering cheap flight fares, which does not make economic sense.

However, the three Gulf airlines completely denied all the allegations. The US airlines also requested the United States government to review the Open Skies agreement, through which Gulf carriers operate in US.

Emirates President Tim Clark told reports on the sidelines of an International Air Transport Authority (IATA) meeting that the airline will submit a detailed report to the US government in response to US airlines’ accusation that it was one of the carriers receiving unfair subsidies from the Gulf government. Earlier last week, Etihad also submitted a 60-page report to the US government to counter the US airlines’ allegation.

Riaz Haq said...

Qatar Airways announced that it has launched services in two more cities of Pakistan namely Sialkot and Faisalabad on consecutive days.

The airline started four weekly passenger services to Sialkot on July 16 and a day later announced that it would also commence three weekly flights to Faisalabad.

Read: Qatar Airways named Skytrax’s world’s best airline of 2015

Qatar Airways Cargo had already been operating a direct freight service to Sialkot since 2008 because of the high volume of products, especially textiles, being exported from the city.

Further, the airline has announced that in a few weeks Multan will also join its Pakistan network with three flights a week starting from August 2. Qatar Airways already has Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar on its list of destinations.

“Qatar Airways has a long-standing commitment to serve Pakistan and we are delighted to operate an exceptionally comprehensive route network covering the length and breadth of the country,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker.

“There are a significant number of Pakistani expatriates who are working in Qatar and the GCC. The launch of these new destinations will enable us to quickly meet the growing demand of these travellers,” he added.

Read: Qatar Airways boss denies ‘subsidy’ claims

On the two new destinations, Sialkot and Faisalabad, the airline has decided to operate an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of up to 12 seats in Business Class and up to 132 in Economy Class.

Qatar Airways currently flies 45 times a week to four cities of Pakistan, with double daily flights to Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, and three weekly flights to Peshawar. Karachi was the first city in Pakistan where the airline launched its services in 1995, followed by Peshawar in 1998, Lahore in 1999 and Islamabad in 2004.

The airline currently operates a modern fleet of 162 aircraft, and with four new destinations (Multan, Abha, Ras Al Khaimah and Durban) soon to be launched, it will increase its global portfolio to 154 destinations across Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, North America and South America.

Riaz Haq said...

After building privately-funded airport, #Sialkot exporters to launch privately-funded airline #Pakistan

Local exporters have decided to launch a private airline with the collaboration of the Sialkot International Airport Limited (SIAL).

Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) President Fazal Jilani told newsmen here on Wednesday that the airline – Sialkot International Airline – would be formally launched within the next two weeks.

He said it would be another mega project by the local businessmen after the establishment of the airport.

Riaz Haq said...

State-owned airline Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) privatization plans have been postponed until mid-2016, following what the government described as “legal obstacles in finalizing the transaction structure.”

In 2014, the Pakistan government agreed to a sell off parts of various strategic state-owned assets, including power corporations and steelmakers as well as PIA. The move to divest corporations was a condition of a $6.7 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund made in 2013.

Pakistan Minister of State for Privatization Mohammad Zubair said at the time of the agreement that the sale of PIA would commence in mid-2015. “The process is absolutely on and financial advisers are performing their job, [working on] the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) sale,” he said.

In 2014, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave approval for the airline to take five new Boeing 777 aircraft, in addition to an agreement for 13 leased Airbus A320s, of which the fifth was delivered in June 2015.

“With newer versions of fuel-efficient aircraft, the employees will have to put in extra efforts for turning around the corporation [prior to sale],” PIA managing director Shahnawaz Rehman said.

But government intervention and factional delays have pushed the timeline back twice already, with the original deal for a restructuring prior to a 26% IPO sell-off still subject to internal opposition and political wrangling.

In the meantime, the airline is posting continuing losses—in the first quarter, it lost PKR2.1 billion ($206 million) taking its total losses to date to $2.1 billion.

Riaz Haq said...

Gerry’s Dnata, the largest ground handler in Pakistan, has ramped up its scale of operations in Pakistan with the commencement of its service at three new airports in Pakistan investing over $4 million.

Gerry’s Dnata is a joint venture between Dubai’s Dnata and Gerry’s group in Pakistan.

To support the growth of the aviation industry across Pakistan, Gerry’s Dnata has launched services at Multan International airport (MUX) on May 1, Quetta International (UET) on June 11 and Faisalabad International (LYP) on July 11 this year.

Across the country, Gerry’s Dnata expects to increase its staff count by 140 to accommodate the new services at these locations creating local job opportunities for Pakistanis.

“We have been supporting the aviation industry in Pakistan since 1993,” said Syed Haris Raza, Vice-President of Gerry’s Dnata.

“This expansion will help the industry continue to grow and meet the needs of the travel and cargo communities.”

“The aviation industry in Pakistan continues to grow, and as a trusted partner, our goal is to ensure the smooth handling of flights, passengers, and cargo across the country. Our new locations add cargo capacity, passenger handling capabilities and create new jobs—a good thing for the industry and the economy,” added Raza.

The new airport locations increase Gerry’s footprint to seven airports across Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar, and makes it the largest ground handler in Pakistan, now able to welcome over 3 million passengers in and out of these locations every year.

Riaz Haq said...

BEIJING (Online) – Air China on Saturday announced it would launch four new Asian routes in October, connecting Beijing to more destinations in south and southeast Asia.

Flights linking Beijing and Karachi, Pakistan, will launch on Oct. 26 with three flights every week. It will stop in the country’s capital Islamabad.

The Beijing-Mumbai, India, route will be launched on Oct. 25, with four flights every week.

On the same day, flights will also begin connecting Beijing with Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with four flights every week.

On Oct. 27, another route linking Beijing with Colombo, Sri Lanka, will begin, with three flights every week.

Riaz Haq said...

#Bahrain's Gulf Air plans to launch two new #Pakistan routes. #Multan #Faisalabad …

The addition of direct services to the cities of Faisalabad and Multan are scheduled to launch in December, the airline said in a statement.
The airline will operate four weekly direct flights to Multan and three weekly services to Faisalabad, it added.
Ahmed Janahi, chief commercial officer, said: "We are committed to serving the Pakistan market, as we have done since our first entry in 1960.
"Accordingly, we are delighted to supplement our existing operations - catering to passenger demand from across the country.
"I would like to extend our thanks to the Pakistan authorities and Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority for facilitating and supporting this new development that I am confident will be well received by passengers."
The new launches will take the carrier's total number of Pakistan destinations to seven in addition to Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Sialkot.
Gulf Air flights to Multan, Pakistan's fifth largest city by population, and Faisalabad, a major industrial and manufacturing hub, will be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft.
Gulf Air said in August that its year-on-year losses reduced by 30 percent in the first half of 2014.
The airline's revenues increased by 10 percent during the same period, its chairman said in a statement without giving specific figures.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Tells Pilots ‘Don’t Fly Drunk’. #Shaheen #Lahore #Crash via @WSJIndia

Pakistani aviation authorities have warned domestic carriers to ensure their pilots aren’t flying drunk after the investigation of an accident last week discovered the captain of the flight had elevated blood-alcohol levels.

Amjad Ali Toor, the director-general of Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority, said in a statement Thursday that medical tests showed the pilot in command of a Shaheen Air International plane that skidded off a runway in Lahore had an “unacceptable” amount of alcohol in his blood.

There were no fatalities or serious injuries in the accident, which involved a Boeing 737 with 114 passengers and seven crew members aboard. Shaheen Air didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment. Neither the airline nor regulators publicly named the pilot.

Alcohol was banned in Muslim-majority Pakistan in 1977, with some exceptions for non-Muslims, but is still sold illegally by bootleggers across the country.

On Thursday, the aviation authority called an emergency meeting with representatives of all domestic airlines and asked them to conduct “snap medical tests” on their crews.

Aviation officials said they don’t know whether the captain’s alcohol consumption caused or contributed to the Shaheen accident, which is still under investigation. “It may have been one of the factors, but it [being drunk] is unacceptable and dangerous on its own,” said one official.

State-owned Pakistan International Airlines, the country’s largest carrier, said Friday that it adheres to global safety standards and that crews are examined regularly.

“PIA is the only airline in Pakistan which is IOSA-compliant,” said airline spokesman Aamir Memon, referring to the International Air Transport Association’s Operational Safety Audit benchmark.

A PIA pilot was sentenced to nine months in prison by a British court in 2013 for attempting to fly an aircraft from the United Kingdom to Pakistan with a blood-alcohol level above the limit allowed for pilots.

“This was one incident in five or ten years, he was punished,” said Mr. Memon. “We have zero tolerance for negligence.”

Riaz Haq said...

Gulf Air starts new #Pakistan flights to/from #Faisalabad, #Multan airports

Bahrain national carrier, Gulf Air, said on Tuesday it recently started flights to Pakistani cities Multan and Faisalabad.

The two new flights increases Gulf Air’s services to Pakistan to seven. It also flies to Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Sialkot.

The flights to Multan and Faisalabad are operated by an Airbus A320, a narrow body single aisle aircraft, according to an emailed statement.

Multan is Pakistan’s 5th most populated city and Faisalabad is a major industrial and manufacturing hub.

Riaz Haq said...

#US First Lady Jackie Kennedy returned from #Pakistan to #US as a passenger on #Pakistan International Airline #PIA …

Riaz Haq said...

#US First Lady Jackie Kennedy returned from #Pakistan to #US as a passenger on #Pakistan International Airline #PIA

The airline is now in debt and in crisis. It faces competition from private airlines. Staff unions are fighting government plans to sell off at least part of it.

On Feb. 2, two PIA employees were shot dead in Karachi during a demonstration against privatization. It's not clear who did it. The police used unusual force that day, including water cannons and teargas.

In a tent not far from the airport, a group of men mourns one of the two victims, a 57-year-old flight engineer named Saleem Akbar.

"When I received a call, I was really shocked and I don't understand what should I do," says his son, Fahad. "I never expected such things from the authorities. It was just a peaceful demonstration."

PIA workers nationwide responded to the killings by walking out en masse. For almost a week, PIA's fleet was grounded.

The strike was yet another reminder to Pakistanis of how far their airline's star has fallen. They used to boast about how PIA was the first Asian airline to operate jets and how it provided the planes that helped launch Emirates airline.

Ask Pakistanis what's gone wrong and they often reel off a list.

In part, says Khurram Husain of Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, it's "the inability of the government to manage what are essentially commercial enterprises. In part, political interference. In part, resistance to change from within due to excessive union activities and excessive bureaucratization."

Husain has been tracking the airline for years. He says at the heart of PIA's problems, there's a number.

"That number is the accumulated losses that the airline has managed to rack up by now," he says. "That number now stands at just under $3 billion, about half the national defense budget."

That huge $3 billion debt is paralyzing the airline, says Husain. "Just about the only thing that senior PIA management has been busy with is arranging for funds with which to make the next debt-service obligation," he says.

Pressure to overhaul PIA is coming from the International Monetary Fund, which has provided a big loan to Pakistan. The country's economy is blighted by many problems, from chronic power shortages to massive tax avoidance. The IMF thinks it's time to tackle loss-making state-run enterprises, like PIA.

Political commentator Hosain believes it's inevitable that the government will have to sell a big chunk of the airline. "PIA is hemorrhaging dollars," she says. "There's no way around it."

Many PIA staff hope that's wrong.

"The basic thing is the security of job. There is no security of job in privatization," says PIA accounts official Adnan Malik.

The Pakistani public may have fallen out of love with their airline. But Malik hasn't. "When you serve in airline, you feel love with them," he says. "You feel love for PIA. Yes. I love my country, I love PIA!" …

Riaz Haq said...

#ADB to loan #Pakistan $600m for structural reforms to boost performance and financial stability of PSUs … via @pfintl

“This assistance will give the government the ‘fiscal breathing space’ it needs to proceed with measures to create more sustainable business, delivering more efficient and cost-effective services to the Pakistani public, and will eventually free up public funds for vital social sector spending.”

At present, the Pakistan government owns 191 public sector enterprises employing around 420,000 workers. But according to the ADB, a fiscal consolidation drive to improve federal finances has prevented the government from making important reforms in this area, such as reducing pension liabilities.

ADB financing will be used to create a cost fund to “manage huge unfunded pensions and other retirement liabilities of workers”, which present a “serious threat” to Pakistan’s public sector, the bank said.

Power distribution companies and Pakistani Railways are also among the organisations that need “immediate financial support” to initiate reforms.

Pakistani Railways will receive support to strengthen auditing and accounting, and funding will also be used to improve the transparency of the public sector and strengthen corporate governance.

This funding is part of a coordinated donor packaged arranged by the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The programme consists of two batches of $300m and will run until 2018.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan saw 23% growth in airline passengers in 2015; #Gwadar airport growth fastest at 73% #CPEC … via @annaaero

Pakistan’s commercial airports have seen major growth in capacity in the past 12 months, as S15 seat capacity is showing a rise of 23%. Of all the airports in Pakistan, the one that is recording the greatest growth in capacity is Gwadar (13th largest in S15), which is showing an increase in capacity of 73%. A total of eight airports are recording a growth rate over the past 12 months that is greater than 60%, with four of these airports being in the top 12 (highlighted in light green). Only one airport is showing a decline in capacity when compared with S14, Skardu. The 14th largest airport in 2015 was the 11th biggest last year. However, the facility has witnessed a decline in seat capacity of 14% according to OAG Schedules Analyser. In the top 12, the airport order pretty much remains constant, with Multan (+64%), Quetta (+62%) and Faisalabad (+61%) all climbing one place as a result of all of them seeing a growth of over 60%. Turbat is a new airport to the top 12 (13th in S14) as a result of Skardu’s capacity decrease.

After seeing a rise in capacity of nearly 26%, the domestic market is the largest in Pakistan. The country market that is recording the best growth in the top 12 is Sri Lanka. The country pair is served by two routes to Colombo from Karachi and Lahore, with the latter only being launched in November last year with a twice-weekly service operated by Mihin Lanka. Services to Karachi have seen an increase in capacity of 11%, a sector flown by SriLankan Airlines. Of the country markets in the top 12, the only one to show a decline in capacity is Kuwait. In total there are three connections between Kuwait City and Pakistan for S15 (same as in S14), Lahore (-6%), Islamabad (+1%) and Sialkot (-23%). Surprisingly Karachi, the largest airport in Pakistan relating to seat capacity, does not have a direct service to Kuwait.

Over the past 12 months, Turkish Airlines has grown seat capacity out of Pakistan by 38%, beating the MEB3 carriers of Emirates (+13%), Qatar Airways (+28%) and Etihad Airways (+18%). What should also be noted is that Emirates’ sister airline, flydubai (highlighted in light green), has now overtaken Etihad Airways in relation to the monthly seat capacity on offer by both airlines in S15, helped by the carrier reporting a growth in capacity of 66%, and climbing from 12th spot in 2014 to eighth in 2015 in relation to Pakistan’s top 12 airlines. This has been helped in part by the airline recently launching services from Dubai to Faisalabad. Nonetheless the number one out of Pakistan remains the country’s national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. The airline has reported a growth in capacity when compared to the same time period of last year of 25%. None of the airlines in the top 12 are reporting seat capacity reductions in S15. However, Air Indus is showing a consistent pattern with 0% growth and offering the same amount of seats as S14, but growth from Airblue means that the airline drops to fifth in S15 from fourth in last year.

Riaz Haq said...

Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released its updated passenger growth forecast, projecting that passenger numbers are expected to reach 7 billion by 2034 with a 3.8% average annual growth in demand (2014 baseline year). That is more than double the 3.3 billion who flew in 2014 and exactly twice as many as the 3.5 billion expected in 2015.

Previously, IATA forecast 7.4 billion passengers in 2034 based on a 4.1% average annual growth rate. The revised result reflects negative developments in the global economy that are expected to dampen demand for air transport, especially slower economic growth projections for China.
The five fastest-increasing markets in terms of additional passengers per year over the forecast period will be China (758 million new passengers for a total of 1.196 billion), the US (523 million new passengers for a total of 1.156 billion), India (275 million new passengers for a total of 378 million), Indonesia (132 million new passengers for a total of 219 million) and Brazil (104 million new passengers for a total of 202 million).

Seven of the ten fastest-growing markets in percentage terms will be in Africa. The top ten will be: Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Serbia, Tanzania, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia and Vietnam. Each of these markets is expected to grow by 7-8% each year on average over the next 20 years, doubling in size each decade.
In terms of routes, Asian, South American and African destinations will see the fastest growth, reflecting economic and demographic growth in those markets. Indonesia-East Timor will be the fastest growing route, at 13.9%, followed by India-Hong Kong (10.4%), Within Honduras (10.3%), Within Pakistan (9.9%) and UAE-Ethiopia (9.5%)
“The demand for air transport continues to grow. There is much work to be done to prepare for the 7 billion passengers expected to take the skies in 2034,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“Economic and political events over the last year have impacted some of the fundamentals for growth. As a result, we expect some 400 million fewer people to be traveling in 2034 than we did at this time last year. Air transport is a critical part of the global economy. And policy-makers should take note of its sensitivity. The economic impact of 400 million fewer travelers is significant. Each is a lost opportunity to explore, create social and cultural value, and generate economic and employment opportunities. It is important that we don’t create additional headwinds with excessive taxation, onerous regulation or infrastructure deficiencies,” said Tyler.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s new private air carrier Serene Air to start flying domestic routes by year-end

Serene Air has been granted a licence by the air travel authority to establish a private airline in Pakistan, said sources in the aviation industry.

The airline would begin operations on domestic routes by November or December 2016, as per its plan submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), stated a source, who remained involved in the developments.

PIA to lease 8 planes to upgrade fleet

“The authority granted Serene Air a licence in March 2016 to establish the airline with headquarters in Pakistan, however, the company has not yet been granted the Air Operator Certificate that will allow it to fly,” he said.

“The grant of the certificate is linked with the acquisition of aircraft mentioned in the business plan.”

He said airline officials were expected to fly to the United States to acquire five Boeing 737-800s, which would be bought with the approval of CAA officials. “The 737-800 is the latest aircraft of Boeing company.”

As per rules, the company is required to have at least three aircraft to establish an airline.

Serene Air will fly on almost all domestic routes, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta and Multan. CAA rules say the airline can apply for an international licence if it successfully operates on domestic routes for over a year.

At present, there are three airlines that are already flying on domestic routes, of which one is state-owned – Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). The remaining two – Airblue and Shaheen Air – belong to the private sector.

Passengers ‘damage’ PIA Premier aircraft

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry Standing Committee on Aviation Chairman Muhammad Yahya Polani said Pakistan’s aviation industry had a huge potential.

“Pakistan should launch more airlines on domestic routes as the availability of more air carriers will spark true competition and benefit passengers with lower fares and improved service quality,” he said.

“All the three airlines operating on the domestic routes have less than 100 aircraft combined, which are below the required number to serve the nation with an estimated population of 220 million,” said Polani.

“The Turkish Airline has more than 300 aircraft for a population of 75 million. It covers over 1,500 destinations every day and what’s more is that its private sector airlines have even greater number of aircraft.”

Similar is the case with the United States’ United Airlines. It has over 1,000 aircraft that fly to 6,700 destinations every day while the United Arab Emirates airline flies to over 1,300 destinations every day and has a very limited population.

Riaz Haq said...

New Islamabad Airport will further promote the progressive image of Pakistan: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that the new Islamabad Airport will be an icon of excellence and will further promote the progressive image of Pakistan.

The prime minister expressed these views while chairing a meeting on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and aviation affairs at the PM House.

He reviewed the progress on the new airport and was apprised that all construction packages of the new airport are on track. He directed to complete the link road project from Rawalpindi to New Islamabad Airport by March 2017.

New Islamabad airport gets another deadline

The National Highway Authority was also directed to monitor the quality of work on the link road project according to the required standards. The overall performance of the national carrier during the last six months was also reviewed, while the PIA chairman gave a presentation to participants of the meeting and informed that significant increase in revenue has been registered.

Riaz Haq said...


With 2016 already a record year for the tourism sector in Pakistan at the local level, tourism was gradually recovering from the dark era of post September 11, 2001.

The country hopes to once again attract international tourists who had deserted it for the past 15 years, according to an articled published in "Asialyst" a Paris-based Website.

As Pakistan was one of the countries most affected by terrorism, since last year foreign travellers have been returning little by little.

In Karimabad, a small village overlooking the Hunza Valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan province of northern Pakistan, Lal Hussain, 65, looked out at the view of the river and the snow-capped peaks of the Karakoram.

It was the season when the apricot trees were in bloom and the water from the melting of the glaciers irrigated the valley.

With his son and nephews, Lal Hussain runs the Hunza Inn, one of the oldest hostels in Karimabad, established in 1980. "It's not like before," he sighed.

In the past fifteen years, Lal Hussain has lost 80% of his turnover. "Because of the foreign media, tourists have a biased image of Pakistan and are afraid to visit the region," he said.

Seated around the large common table of the Hunza Inn, however, were some Chinese tourists who had ventured into the Pakistani mountains, and Fabrizio, an Italian from Rome.

After travelling extensively in India, Fabrizio was discovering the country for the first time. "It's true that my family was afraid when I told them I was leaving for Pakistan," he said. "But in reality, we don't feel any danger here at all, there is no problem."

He said he intended to hike, relax and visit the region.

Fabrizio was the only European in the village.

Twenty years ago, Karimabad was the gateway for all foreign backpackers and trekkers, said Lal Hussain. "In summer, the high season, we even had to refuse people," he added.

Gilgit-Baltistan region is a paradise for mountaineers.

Located at the junction of the Hindu Kush and Karakoram ranges, between India, China and Afghanistan, it is home to five out of fourteen mountain peaks in the world that are over 8,000 metres high, including the mythical K2.

The hippie trail and the golden age of tourism in Pakistan Lal Hussain's story is one of a flourishing industry that collapsed. Now, it is gradually reviving.

In 2015, Pakistan attracted 5,634 foreign tourists. According to the biennial report of the World Economic Forum, Pakistan ranks 125th in the world in terms of foreign tourists.

From Sindh, with its sandy beaches, to Punjab and its palaces, from the old city of Lahore to the heights of the Himalayas, not to mention the Cholistan desert, the "Country of the Pure" possesses all the trump cards it needs to attract travellers from all over the world, the articled noted.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's international #airline PIA to add #Boeing, #Airbus jets for fleet upgrade, plans staff cuts via @Reuters

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is evaluating an order for wide-body Airbus (AIR.PA) and Boeing (BA.N) jets as it looks to upgrade its ageing fleet, an executive for the state-owned airline said on Tuesday.

"Boeing 777X would be a good option," the airline's executive director of human resources and works, Raheel Ahmed, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai, adding that PIA is also looking at the Airbus A330 and A350 models.

PIA would consider purchasing the aircraft directly from the manufacturer and financing the order through a sale and leaseback arrangement, when an airline sells a jet to a lessor who then leases it back. It would also consider a direct leasing agreement, known as a dry lease.

Ahmed did not say when PIA would order the jets or how many it could buy. It has a fleet of 38 narrow-body and wide-body Airbus and Boeing jets, with three A310s to be retired on Dec. 31, he added.

Ahmed also said PIA would cut its 18,000 workforce by between 3,000 and 3,500 employees by the end of 2017 as the Pakistan government looks to turn around the loss-making airline and sell-off a 49 percent stake.

However, PIA later said Ahmed's figures were incorrect, and no decision had as yet been taken on how many jobs would be cut or over what timeframe.

A meeting between Pakistan's Privatization Commission and PIA top management was also held on Tuesday, "to determine the best suitable restructuring model to make PIA into a viable entity," a senior government official who attended the meeting told Reuters.

The official said restructuring would be done in two phases, carving out non-essential units within three to six months "to attain a clean balance sheet," followed by the gradual carving out of other business units.

The airline would spin-off four "special business units" from January 2017, starting with its catering business and later its flight training, engineering and courier businesses.

The units are planned to operate independently of PIA with their own general managers and marketing teams. PIA would later look to sell a stake in the units if they are profitable.

Riaz Haq said...

#Emirates Airline started with $10 million in seed capital and a couple of jets leased from #Pakistan #PIA in 1984.

In 1984, Dubai was a backwater, one of the seven city-states that made up the fledgling United Arab Emirates, when its ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al-Maktoum, and his son Mohammed decided to start an airline. With $10 million in seed capital and a couple of jets leased from Pakistan, Emirates was created a year later under the leadership of a pair of British expats, Maurice Flanagan and Tim Clark, initially serving regional destinations before making its first flights to London in 1987.

The airline, which is based in Dubai and owned by its government, has become the world’s largest long-haul carrier by never relaxing its grip—on employees, on airplane manufacturers, or on its own ambitions. Emirates recently configured a plane to seat 615 passengers, a record, and flies the world’s most epic nonstop route, an 8,824-mile arc from Dubai to Auckland. Emirates is essentially the only buyer of the largest commercial airliner, the Airbus A380, which it gilds with stand-up cocktail bars and in-flight showers. For every flight departing Dubai, as cabin crew head to their airplanes, the last room they traverse is a hall with mirrors on one side and windows to the tarmac on the other. The space allows workers to inspect themselves for perfection against a backdrop of government-owned taxiways thick with Emirates jets. That’s the airline, in one image: glamour and ambition in a framework of absolute control.

Since 1985, Emirates has grown from a two-plane operation at a desert airstrip into a force whose every movement rumbles through global aviation. The airline’s growth is inseparable from that of Dubai, with both straining the laws of financial and physical gravity. The company’s chairman is Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the uncle of Dubai’s absolute monarch. He also runs the airport authority, the aviation regulator, and the city’s largest bank, should Emirates ever need a loan. Out in the desert, a half-hour drive from the coast’s skyscrapers and malls, the government is building a $32 billion, five-runway megahub precisely to Emirates’ specifications. Its ambitions are consonant with its name: Dubai World Central. The project will have a capacity of 220 million passengers per year, four times the number that New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport serves today. Two-thirds of humanity lives within the radius of an eight-hour flight. Among industry veterans, the airline’s rise inspires a respectful awe. “Emirates is unprecedented,” says Tony Tyler, a former chief executive officer of Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific. “There’s never been anything as huge.”

Yet as Emirates dictates new standards of technology, luxury, and range, it’s finding that more and more is beyond its mastery. Conceived as a titanic bet on the growth of what development economists call the Global South—the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Latin America—the airline is at risk if those emerging markets don’t, in fact, emerge. Emirates in May reported its first-ever annual revenue decline and is cutting some of its plans for growth amid slackening demand from sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, and Brazil. The slump has industry analysts wondering how Emirates will fill the staggering number of planes it has on order. The company has agreed to buy 50 A380s and 174 Boeing 777s, adding to the 92 and 148, respectively, it currently flies. By comparison, British Airways operates 12 A380s, and American Airlines, Delta, and United have zero.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan to launch new private #airline #SereneAir with 125 weekly flights to 7 Pakistani cities … via @chaviation

Serene Air (SEP, Islamabad) will initially serve the domestic Pakistani market before venturing abroad. A Radixx International press release confirming Serene Air's choice of IT systems said the start-up would serve Lahore Int'l, Islamabad, Karachi Int'l, Faisalabad, Quetta, Peshawar, and Skardu with approximately 125 weekly flights initially.

Serene Air will launch with a trio of B737-800s but additional aircraft will provide for its expansion both domestically and, eventually, internationally. Once it has completed its certification, expected during the first half of this year, Serene Air will compete with the likes of AirBlue (PA, Karachi Int'l), PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Karachi Int'l), and Shaheen Air International (NL, Karachi Int'l).

Riaz Haq said...

Int'l #consumer giant #ProctorGamble CEO expresses strong commitment to #Pakistan #economy … via @Pakistan Observer

P&G Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, David Taylor met the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Mohammad Nawaz Sharif in Davos on the sidelines of the recent World Economic Forum confirming P&G’s commitment to serve Pakistani consumers and expressing optimism about the potential and business climate of Pakistan. David Taylor shared with the Prime Minister facts about P&G’s operations in Pakistan which has enabled P&G to celebrate 25 years of its presence in the country with great success.
He said P&G’s presence in Pakistan is strong and getting stronger. Since its first shipment in Pakistan in August 1991, P&G has grown to be amongst the top fast moving consumer goods companies in Pakistan and has launched premium quality brands which are amongst leading household names in their categories. “For the past 25 years, we have improved Pakistani lives through P&G’s iconic and consumer-preferred brands, our investment in local manufacturing facilities, the creation of direct and indirect employment, and our contributions to help communities in need.
With the potential Pakistan has to offer as well as the strong partnership we enjoy with the both the Government of Pakistan and local retailers, we remain committed to serving Pakistani consumers in the years ahead.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan air travel data for 2014-15 & 2015-16, according to Civil Aviation Authority:

International Passengers 2014-15 11,695,832, 2015-16 12,703,951

Domestic Passengers: 2014-15 6,339,888, 2015-16 6,937,304

Total: 2014-15 18 million, 2015-16 19.6 million, up 8.8%

Air Cargo:

International: 2014-15 350,000 tons, 2015-16 300,772

Domestic: 2014-15 38,663 tons, 37,694

Total Cargo: 2014-15 388,000 tons, 2015-16 338,467 down 15%

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's private airline #ShaheenAir adds another Airbus A319, increasing its fleet size to 25 aircrafts

Shaheen Air International (SAI) announced on Wednesday that the airline has inducted another Airbus A319 into its fleet.

The airline is also slated to receive five more aircraft of the similar model. Earlier, there was only one A319 Airbus in the fleet of the airline.

"With 24 planes under its auspices, Shaheen Air is brimming with excitement upon receiving their 25th aircraft," said a statement.

The new aircraft comes wrapped in a new livery that builds on the revamped brand identity and philosophy of Shaheen, said the release.

The Airbus A319 has been custom-fitted with thin and linear seats and it can accommodate around 150 passengers in its all-economy segment.

Last month, the company had re-branded itself by launching a new logo.

Riaz Haq said...

#Saudi Airlines to start direct flight from #Jeddah to #Multan in #Pakistan

Saudi Arabian Airlines is set to launch its first direct flight from Jeddah to the Pakistani city of Multan from Saturday, April 1. Eight weekly round-trip flights have been scheduled.
Saudi Arabian Airlines spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Taiyeb said it is part of the company’s plan to expand its international destination network based on operational and marketing studies, and on the optimal use of new airplanes which are joining the Saudi Airlines fleet regularly.
The carrier is continuously developing its international operational plan with the aim of increasing its share in the international flight sector, and achieving new records in carrying pilgrims.
The company has finalized the creation of its office at the new destination. The first flight SV800 will take off at 02:50 from Jeddah and arrive at Multan Airport 09:30 Pakistan time.
The arrival of the flight will be celebrated in Multan. Top executives from the airline’s offices in Pakistan and officials from the airport and Multan’s Civil Aviation Authority will take part in the ceremony.
The first flight to depart from Multan International Airport SV801 will take off on the same day at 11:30 and will arrive at King Abdul Aziz International Airport at 14:30 Saudi time.
Flights to Multan — the airline’s fifth direct-flight destination in Pakistan after Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad — will be on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Aircraft to be used are B777-300ER, which have the capacity of 30 and 383 business and economy class seats, respectively.

Riaz Haq said...

India air passenger data 2015-16

Domestic Passengers 85 million

International Passengers on Indian Airlines 18.3 million

International Passengers on Foreign Airlines 31.5 million

Total international traffic: 49.8 million

Riaz Haq said...

The top 10 routes accounted for 1.38 crore or 31% of the total domestic air traffic in these 6 months. Mumbai – Delhi (1200 Km) was the busiest route with 31.4 lakh passengers followed by Bengaluru – Delhi (1700 Km) with 17.48 lakh. Bengaluru – Mumbai (840 Km) was the third busiest route with 16.38 lakh passengers. Mumbai – Goa was the 4th busiest route with 11.77 lakh passengers. Mumbai was a part of the 6 out of top 10 routes while Delhi was a part of 5 of these routes. Delhi-Chennai & Delhi-Kolkata routes saw a sudden increase in the number of passengers in March 2016, possibly because of elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

Longest busy domestic air route in Pakistan is 1100 Km Karachi-Islamabad route

2nd longest/busiest in Karachi-Lahore at 1025 Km

Riaz Haq said...

Indian Aviation Market Third Fastest Growing After Russia, China

After being number one in terms of growth for almost two years, the Indian aviation market became the third fastest growing market after China and Russia overtook it in in domestic air passenger traffic between January-March this year.

NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — China's domestic aviation market grew by 15.1% in comparison to Russia's 14.8% and India's 14.6%, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in its report.

The Chinese growth is an indication of the reversing economy growth.

"The solid upward trend in traffic is underpinned by ongoing robust growth in the country's services sector, as well as supply developments," report added.

The Indian aviation market grew at its slowest pace since September 2015.

"This is the first possible sign of reduced cash supply and wider economic uncertainty weighing on demand." This refers to the demonetization move initiated by the Narendra Modi government in November 2016 whereas 86% of the currency lost its legal tender status.

Russia posted the second fastest domestic growth in March.

"This recovery is set against an improving economic outlook as oil prices have firmed," the report analyzed.

Narendra Modi government has initiated several measures such as higher foreign investment, new aviation policy, cheaper air turbine fuel and attractive regional connectivity schemes to boost aviation in the country.

Riaz Haq said...

IATA’s Passenger Forecasts Indicate Fastest Growing Markets of the Future

As the aviation market and passenger forecasts continue on a path of growth and the demand for air travel doubles over the next twenty years, the biggest demand will be in the Asia-Pacific region.

Based on the latest figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the United States will remain the largest air passenger market until around 2030, when it will drop to second, behind China. These estimates indicate that the US will carry 18.3 billion more passengers and China 16.9 billion over the next 20 years.

Currently the ninth largest market, India will see a total of 367 million passenger movements by 2034, an increase of 266 million annual passengers compared to today and will overtake the United Kingdom (148 million extra passengers, total market 337 million) to become the 3rd largest market around 2031.

Reflecting a declining and aging population, Japanese air passenger numbers will grow just 1.3% per year and decline from the 4th largest market in 2014 to the 9th largest by 2033.

Germany and Spain will decline from 5th and 6th position in 2014 to be the 8th and 7th largest markets respectively. France will fall from 7th to 10th while Italy will fall out of the top 10 altogether around 2019.

Brazil will increase passenger numbers by 170 million and rise from 10th to 5th. Its total market will be 272 million passengers.

Indonesia will enter the top ten around 2020 and attain 6th place by 2029. By 2034 it will be a market of 270 million passengers.

IATA’s long-term forecasts are prepared for passenger and freight traffic and aircraft movements and their related parameters to support planning in airport, airline, air navigation and other aviation sectors.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian aviation takes off but growth weighs on airports

After a long rough patch, Indian aviation is finally booming, but that burst of growth is now taking a toll on the industry's infrastructure.

High operating costs, intense competition and the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines had weakened both business and civil sectors in previous years, but recently the Indian market has turned a corner into the world's fastest growing, largely thanks to supportive government policies.

India is currently the sole bright spot in Asia's aviation sector, Neil Book, CEO at the largest independent aviation firm JSSI, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday.

Private jet sales are up and the emerging middle/upper classes have witnessed double-digit growth rates in travel, he explained.

The upper middle class made up 8 percent of the population in 2015, and is set to hit 12 percent by 2020, according to Boston Consulting Group. Meanwhile, the ultra-high net worth population--defined as those whose net worth exceeds $50 million--stood at 178,000 in 2016 and will increase 57 percent by 2021, estimates Credit Suisse.

Unlike his predecessors, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has loosened industry restrictions that are set to increase new aircraft deliveries as well as in-service and used business jets, Book continued.

Indeed, 2016 was a landmark year for Indian carriers as Modi unveiled a national civil aviation policy aimed at expanding air travel. Under the policy, domestic airlines are no longer required to log five years of domestic routes before getting an overseas permit, known as the 5/20 rule.

The government also said it would limit base fares on regional routes to 2,500 rupees ($37) per hour of travel in an attempt to make flying more viable for commercial passengers.

As strong economic fundamentals boosts air traffic, India may even overtake Japan this year to become the world's third largest domestic market behind the U.S. and China, the Centre of Aviation (CAPA) stated in a new report.

But the skies aren't entirely clear. The biggest risk to Indian aviation is the same one plaguing the national economy: creaky infrastructure.

"India faces the very real prospect of an airport capacity crisis," CAPA noted. "Slot constraints and congestion are key issues at most metro airports and are expected to remain so for the near term as new terminals and runways will take 2-3 years to develop."

The developments of new airports, such as the Navi Mumbai International Airport, have also been subject to lengthy delays, CAPA added.

Airspace is another potential concern on the supply side, with CAPA recommending that the air navigations services division of the Airports Authority of India be hived-off as a separate entity and corporatized.

If airports remain saturated, choking off air connectivity to India's centers of commerce, industry and tourism, the economic ramifications could be severe, CAPA warned.

Riaz Haq said...

India is buying over 1,000 new planes - but can it handle them?

India is adding airline passengers faster than any other country, and it needs more planes to carry them: 1,080 more, to be precise.
To meet exploding demand, the South Asian nation is set to to buy 2.2 new airplanes for each of the 480 aircraft currently in service, according to a new report by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).
The U.S. and China are the only countries to have more pending aircraft orders, the report says.
Boeing, one of the biggest potential beneficiaries of the massive spending spree, is equally optimistic. The manufacturer predicts India will need 1,850 new planes over the next two decades. It values the orders at $265 billion.

The U.S. firm will reportedly agree in the coming weeks to sell 100 planes to Indian carrier Jet Airways. It is also a top contender to sell another 100 to the country's newest airline, Vistara.
Boeing is locked in a battle for India's skies with European rival Airbus, which already has contracts with several Indian carriers.
"We are in constant communications with the airlines in India about their current and future fleet needs," a Boeing spokesperson said Thursday, while declining to comment on individual deals.

The buying frenzy, led by budget airlines like SpiceJet and IndiGo, is not without reason. Around 220 million Indians flew last year -- an annual increase of 20% -- and the country is on track to overtake the U.K. as the world's third-largest aviation market by 2026.
But the race to capture that market is a slippery slope, and CAPA warned that airlines risk biting off more than they can chew.
"Unprecedented expansion will place immense pressure on the aviation system," the report said. "The industry currently appears to be underestimating the challenges ahead."

There are several examples in India's aviation history that serve as a cautionary tale, with Kingfisher Airlines -- the defunct carrier owned by beer baron Vijay Mallya -- being the most recent example.
National carrier Air India is also in a precarious position, and talks of offloading it into the private sector have gathered momentum in recent weeks.

Another huge challenge is a lack of infrastructure. India's aviation boom is severely threatened by the fact that only 75 of its 400 airports are currently operational -- and even the biggest hubs like Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai are bursting at the seams.
With 700 of India's 1,080 new planes set to be delivered within the next ten years, CAPA said the country's lack of preparedness could quickly unravel the industry.
"Aircraft induction on this scale will require massive infrastructure development, skilled resources ... at a pace that has not been seen before in India," the report said. "Parking bays and runway slots will become increasingly scarce over the next few years."

Riaz Haq said...

Aviation Industry
The aviation industry is characterized by high competition
arising from soft barriers to entry, cyclicality, and
vulnerability to economic shocks...

Based on economic and
demographic growth,
IATA has projected
intra Pakistan air
traffic to grow at 9.9%
over the next 20 years,
more than twice the
4.1% projected annual
world growth rate. This
supports the prospects
of growing revenues for

Local Industry Structure
• There are three domestic players in Pakistan: Pakistan International Airlines
(PIA), Shaheen Air International Limited (SAI) and Air Blue Limited.
• Indus Air, which commenced flights in 2013, was forced to cease operations
in 2015 by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on account of failure to meet
legal minimum requirement of fleet size of 3 airworthy aircrafts.

Total passenger traffic has grown at a CAGR of 5.3% over the last 5 years and has reached 15.1m
passengers during FY15.
• Based on economic and demographic growth, IATA has projected intra Pakistan air traffic to grow
at 9.9% over the next 20 years, more than twice the 4.1% projected annual world growth rate.
This supports the prospects of growing revenues for airliners.

Market Share (Domestic Passenger Traffic)
• Domestic passenger traffic has remained relatively stagnant over
the last five years. During FY15, total number of domestic air
passengers amounted to 3.15m vis-a-vis 3.59m during FY14. The
reduction was mainly due increase in number of domestic airports
/ destinations, facilitating direct travel.
• PIA’s market share in terms of domestic passenger traffic was 51%
for FY15. However, the same has decreased from 72% during FY10
on account of mismanagement and inefficiencies. Market share
of PIA is expected to decline further in FY16 due to a two week
airline strike, which allowed other players to gain market share.
• Shaheen Air is the second largest player having 27% (FY10: 14%) market share in terms of
domestic passenger traffic followed by Air Blue at 13% (FY10: 14%).
Market Share (International Passenger Traffic)
• Total international air travel for Pakistan has grown at a CAGR
7.1% over the last five years. Total international passenger traffic
amounted to 11.9m passengers (FY14: 10.9m, FY10: 8.5m) during
• Market share of foreign carriers during FY15 has increased to 56%
(FY14: 53%) of total international air travel in/out of Pakistan.
Based on the above mentioned reasons, along with competitive
pricing from Emirates Airlines, PIA’s market share decreased from
43% in FY10 to 23% in FY15.

Riaz Haq said...

Overseas investors in #Pakistan find 94% reduction in #crime. #Lahore 94%, #Karachi 92% reduction.

Overseas investors in Pakistan have observed up to 94% decline in different crimes all over the country in 2017, according to the annual survey conducted by Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI).

Respondents of the OICCI security survey 2017 experienced a drop in the overall street crimes with a 69% reduction in minor crimes (like mobile and cash snatching) and 90% decrease in major street crimes (like car snatching).

In terms of serious crimes like abductions/hostage taking and extortion (bhatta) – respondents across Pakistan reported major reductions as compared to 2016, ranging from 94% decrease in Lahore, closely followed by the rest of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (93%) and Karachi (92%).

Security survey 2017 is conducted in June and highlights a positive movement in the OICCI members’ perception of the country’s security environment. This comprehensive security survey has been conducted every year since 2015. It reflects the foreign investors’ perception on the improving security environment in the country especially after the launch of 2013 Karachi operations.

OICCI members have reported significant improvement in confidence and comfort of their staff on security matters, which went up further after the 86% increase reported in the previous survey, as the staffs now feel even more comfortable in their everyday commute to/from the workplace.

More significantly, a noteworthy feedback from the latest OICCI security survey is that a higher number of expatriate business visitors have travelled to Pakistan in the past one year and most of the business related meetings are now being held within Pakistan. Prior to August 2013 these were conducted in other countries due to security concerns.

This is a strong indicator that Pakistan as a destination has improved on the security concerns map and that such foreign businessmen are being granted travel permissions for their visit to Pakistan from their respective embassies and travel security agencies.

An overwhelming 62% respondents reported substantial increase in the number of overseas visitors to Pakistan as compared to last year. The highest number of OICCI members’ foreign visitors was from European countries followed closely by visitors from Middle East, China, Singapore, USA and Japan.

The 2017 survey once again re-affirms that threats and security concerns have substantially reduced in Pakistan for all key stakeholders of businesses including OICCI members.

“The security environment has substantially improved not only for the survey participants, meaning foreign investors, but also for their customers, suppliers and employees,” said OICCI President Khalid Mansoor.

The 2017 OICCI security survey result mirrors the improved security environment all over Pakistan, especially in Karachi in comparison to the last year and greatly enhanced since the time prior to August 2013.

A significant majority of the respondents were confident that the general threats to business had reduced compared to last year and a look at the last survey in June 2016 echoed the improvement nation-wide with Karachi’s security situation being given the thumbs up by 89%, closely followed by Lahore and the rest of Punjab with 85% and 82%.

Riaz Haq said...

How many flights per day in Pakistan?

Tom Quetchenbach, occasional flyer
Answered Jun 4
To get a very rough idea, we can look at some data from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority for 2015–2016. According to this data set, there were 157,214 aircraft movements (takeoffs or landings) at Pakistan’s larger airports in 2015–2016, of which 71,227 were domestic and 85,987 were international. That’s an average of about 431 aircraft movements per day. Assuming that this is double-counting at least most the domestic flights, because what goes up must come down (that is, each domestic flight consists of two aircraft movements in Pakistan—a takeoff and a landing), dividing the domestic aircraft movements by 2 gives 98 domestic and 236 international flights per day on average.

But that is certainly an underestimate, because it doesn’t account for flights to, from, or between smaller airports, military flights, etc. It’s also not clear to me whether this includes flights by smaller, unscheduled carriers and aircraft operators other than passenger or cargo airlines.

Riaz Haq said...

#Tourism thrives in #Pakistan as number of foreign tourists triples and domestic tourism up 30% since 2013. #travel

As security improves, annual tourist arrivals to Pakistan has more than tripled since 2013 to 1.75 million last year, while domestic travelers rose 30 percent to 38.3 million, according to the state-owned Pakistan Tourism Development Corp. Over the same period, foreign tourist arrivals in the country’s larger neighbor, India, jumped from 6.97 million in 2013 to 8.8 million in 2016, government figures show.

The World Travel and Tourism Council puts the total contribution of tourism to Pakistan’s economy at $19.4 billion last year or 6.9 percent of gross domestic product. In a decade, the WTTC expects that to rise to $36.1 billion.

Still, security challenges remain. While casualties from attacks fell 43 percent last year, major cities, such as Lahore, are occasionally hit by bombings.

Jonny Bealby, the managing director of Wild Frontiers Adventure Travel Ltd., a London-based operator that has run trips to Pakistan for two decades, said his tours to the South Asian nation are up 60 percent from last year.

Along with security, Bealby said the main improvement in Pakistan has been infrastructure. “The roads have improved immeasurably reducing journey times.’’


Annual tourist arrivals have more than tripled since 2013

Military campaign has boosted safety, infrastructure improved

After a bone-jarring mountain journey, Alan Cameron surveys the snow-capped peaks of Pakistan’s north near the Saiful Maluk lake. “It’s beautiful -- well worth the effort,” said the 34-year-old Canadian holidaying in a country better known for terrorism than tourism.

Taking a break from his job as an analyst at Jefferies in London, Cameron’s vacation last month underscores the rekindling of Pakistan’s tourism industry after a sustained military security crack-down, with annual arrivals more than tripling since 2013.

Keen to shed the image that it’s unsafe for visitors, Pakistan has begun a nascent tourism drive and this summer placed adverts across the sides of London’s iconic red buses. Road infrastructure has also been boosted across key holiday regions.

Since the 2014 massacre of more than 100 children at a military school, the army has neutered some insurgent groups and political militias. Tourists are now returning to areas such as the Swat Valley, a northern region known as the Switzerland of Pakistan that was controlled by the Taliban between 2007 and 2009 and where Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai was shot in 2012.

Riaz Haq said...

#Lahore based #Pakistani #American founder of #AI #unicorn Afiniti takes investors helicopter skiing in #Pakistan.

AI firm Afiniti employs three-quarter of employees in Pakistan
Company may list next year with more than $2 billion valuation
In the northern snow-capped peaks of Pakistan, Zia Chishti disembarked off a helicopter and skied downhill on a mission to convince investors, clients and company executives that the nation once called by The Economist “the world’s most dangerous place” is now safe for business.

Chishti, who grew up in Lahore, gathered a group from more than a dozen countries including Alessandro Benetton, a heir to the billionaire family that owns the iconic namesake Italian clothing company, and Huawei Technologies Co. rotating Chief Executive Officer Guo Ping earlier this year to Pakistan, the back-end base for some of his businesses. Last month, his artificial intelligence company signed a deal with Huawei, which will help its push into Eastern markets including China, Japan and Australia.

For Chishti, ensuring his clients understand that Pakistan, which has struggled against internal militant groups, has changed since The Economist report a decade ago is critical because many of his employees who provide customer solutions, sales support and marketing to clients including Sprint Corp. and Caesars Entertainment Corp. are based in the South Asian nation. Chishti has added more people in Pakistan, a move that will also help him keep costs under control as his AI unit prepares for an initial public offering in the U.S.

“Pakistan by any reasonable and adaptive measure is an extremely safe place to do business,” said Chishti, whose office oversees the White House, said in an interview by phone. “All in all it’s a very favorable place to do business and the world perception just has to catch up.”

Despite a widespread negative perception over the country’s security record, multiple military operations have curbed domestic insurgents after a Pakistani Taliban massacre at a school three years ago shocked the nation. Last year, civilian deaths from terrorism dropped to the lowest in more than a decade.

The army’s drive has boosted the confidence of companies, including TRG, and foreign investment is up 155 percent to $457 million in the first two months of the business year started July. Chishti’s company has moved into a larger building this year that will fit 3,000 staff in the previously tumultuous port city of Karachi, which has been secured by paramilitary forces against gangsters, militants and political militias since 2013.

Riaz Haq said...

Avari group launches hotel in Multan

China would not let anyone dismember Pakistan or harm its territory because it was investing $ 46 billion in it for its survival, a leading businessman said on Tuesday.
“China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be a game changer for Pakistan which would bring prosperity, development and employment for thousands of people,” Byram Dinshawji Avari, chairman Avari Group of Companies told a press conference after the inauguration of Avari Xpress Boutique in Multan.
“I prefer to invest Pakistan and that’s why I am launching hotels of world-class in Multan, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Islamabad, and other cities. All Pakistanis should invest in Pakistan and they should not look to other countries.”
Avari said he did not agree with those economists who were expressing their reservations on Chinese investment. “China would neither prove to be an East India Company nor capture our country,” he said.
He added that Gwadar port would help boost international trade with China and central Asian states. “When a motorway can help boost country's economy, business, and
prosperity, then why China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a major project of Rs4600 billion will not prove to be a game-changer,” Avari asserted.
He said that investors should come forward to raise the graph of Pakistan in economy. Speaking on the occasion, the former Punajb minister Jalaluddin Roomi hoped that trade and economic activities would increase with the establishment of hotels of international repute in Multan. “A special economic zone should be developed in Multan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project,” Roomi demanded.

Riaz Haq said...


World Travel and Tourism Council WTTC

The direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was PKR793.0bn (USD7.6bn), 2.7% of total
The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was PKR2,033.5bn (USD19.4bn), 6.9% of GDP in 2016, and is
forecast to rise by 6.0% in 2017, and to rise by 5.8% pa to PKR3,793.0bn (USD36.1bn), 7.2% of GDP in 2027.
In 2016 Travel & Tourism directly supported 1,337,500 jobs (2.3% of total employment). This is expected to rise
by 2.3% in 2017 and rise by 2.5% pa to 1,757,000 jobs (2.3% of total employment) in 2027.
In 2016, the total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by
Visitor exports generated PKR93.8bn (USD893.8mn), 3.6% of total exports in 2016. This is
Travel & Tourism investment in 2016 was PKR375.2bn, 9.3% of total investment (USD3.6bn). It should rise by
8.1% in 2017, and rise by 8.0% pa over the next ten years to PKR872.0bn (USD8.3bn) in 2027, 11.4% of total.

Riaz Haq said...

Malam Jabba: Hub of tourism in Pakistan

Known for its scenic beauty, Swat is also called the ‘Switzerland of Pakistan’. While the valley has nearly always remained a major tourist attraction, its local economy mainly depends on tourism.

Located about 300 kilometers from Islamabad and 42 km from Saidu Sharif, Malam Jabba is a complete adventure tourist destination, and perhaps the finest skiing resort in Pakistan.

Malam Jabba has two Buddhist stupas and six monasteries that are spread across the resort. The presence of the monuments at such a height clearly indicates that the area was settled over 2000 years ago. Malam Jabba also offers two exciting trekking trails that offer excellent scenery. The Shangla Top is a trek that is about 18 kilometers from the resort.

In the year 2005, the government started losing its control over the valley and later in 2007 it completely fell to non-state actors. While the government was able to reestablish its writ, no one believed that the charm Swat once had for tourists would ever get restored.

But today, with investors pouring money into the valley’s local tourism, it has once again become a major tourist attraction. While the Pearl Continental Hotel, Malam Jaba is starting its operations in July 2018, a major international skiing competition is also being held on Jan 17 at the Malam Jaba resort that has been rebuilt by the Samson’s Company.

It’s pertinent to mention here that militants had burnt down the PTDC motel – built with Australian collaboration, had destroyed the chairlift cable and an office of the meteorological department in Malam Jabba back in 2008.

Yaqoob, the ski resort’s manager told Pakistan Today that more than one-hundred-thousand tourists come to Malam Jaba every month during winters. Owing to it, the local business has improved, he added.

The manager at the resort further said that the event will not only project a better image of the country but will also help restore the faith of the international community in Pakistan being a safe destination for both the investors and tourists.

While the ongoing projects indicate that the valley is on the right track to development, the initiatives should be encouraged and supported by all stakeholders of the board as any controversy regarding any investment would roll back the efforts which the KP government has made till now, and will leave the people of Swat behind as those who will lose the most.

Riaz Haq said...

5 airlines to venture into Pakistan
Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-29 20:13:38|Editor: Lifang

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Five national and international airlines have applied for regular public transport airline license of Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to venture into the country's aviation industry, local reports said Monday.

The airlines are expected to get permission to carry out the flight operation in the country's skies during the next one year, which is likely to bring down passenger fares, local newspaper Express Tribune said.

Airlines including Askari Air, Air Siyal, Go Green, Liberty Air and Afeef Zara Airways have applied for the license to be a part of the aviation industry which is expected to be around 9 percent per annum and likely to keep the same pace till 2020, according to a forecast of the International Air Transport Association, a trade body of world's airlines.

Pakistan's air traffic has soared up to 40 percent over the past five years to 20 million passengers, and is continuously witnessing an upward trend due to improvement of law and order situation in the country, which is bringing in more tourists in the country.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has also resulted in the increase of air traffic in the country.

Most of the upcoming carriers will target low-profit, far-off destinations including Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Khuzdar, Dalbandin, Zhob, in Balochistan province where CPEC projects are in full swing, and the tourist destinations of Rawalakot, Skardu, Chitral, Gilgit, Bannu and Parachinar.

The destinations could generate immediate profits because of their tourism potential and work on CPEC projects.

For these remote regions, the new carriers will bring airplanes suitable for small airports.

The entry of new airlines in the country's airspace is expected to further increase challenges of the country's national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines, which was the sole operator in most of these routes in the past.

Riaz Haq said...

#Saudi carrier Flynas to launch 14 flights a week to #Pakistan from Thursday to #Lahore and #Islamabad to serve 2.5 million strong #Pakistani diaspora

Flynas is to launch 14 direct flights from the Kingdom’s airports to major cities in Pakistan, beginning on Thursday.
Announcing its expansion program, the airline said the launch is part of its ongoing program to extend its reach to Asia and open new strategic international routes.
Flynas will launch flights from Dammam, Riyadh, and Jeddah to both Lahore and Islamabad and will commence on Thursdaywith flights from Riyadh to Lahore. Riyadh-to-Islamabad flights will follow on Friday, along with flights from Dammam to Lahore, while flights from Jeddah to Lahore will be launched on Saturday.
These flights will utilize the A320 fleet and new B767 aircraft. Bookings can be made through flynas’ smartphone application, travel agents, and the flynas website.
The new routes will serve business travelers as well as ferry Hajj and Umrah visitors. They will also connect passengers to many cities within the Kingdom with flynas’ network, which includes 17 domestic destinations.
Speaking to Arab News, Pakistan Ambassador Khan Hasham bin Siddique said: “It is a matter of great satisfaction to see flynas resuming its operations in Pakistan. Air links are vital not only for facilitating travel between the two countries but also for enhancing overall relations by further strengthening people-to-people contacts, business interactions, bilateral trade, and tourism.
“The resumption of operations in Pakistan, while ensuring the continuity of the momentum gathered recently by several high-level bilateral visits and interactions, will especially provide impetus to our trade and commercial relations,” the envoy said.
It will be particularly welcome for the 2.7-million-strong Pakistani community residing in Saudi Arabia, the ambassador stressed.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's total aviation market grew 5.11% from 2015-16 to 2016-17, according to CAA data.

Pakistan's domestic market increased 3.2% from 2015-16 to 2016-17.

Pakistan's international market grew 6.1% from 2015-16 to 2016-17.

A total of 21.7 million passengers (7.2 million domestic, 14.6 million international) flew commercial airlines in Pakistan in 2016-17, up from 20.7 million (6.95 million domestic, 13.76 million international) in 2015-16, according to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Riaz Haq said...

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects 7.8 billion passengers to travel in 2036, a near doubling of the 4 billion air travelers expected to fly this year. The prediction is based on a 3.6% average Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) noted in the release of the latest update to the association’s 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast.

Pakistan's total aviation market grew 5.11% from 2015-16 to 2016-17, according to CAA data.

Pakistan's domestic market increased 3.2% from 2015-16 to 2016-17.

Pakistan's international market grew 6.1% from 2015-16 to 2016-17.

A total of 21.7 million passengers (7.2 million domestic, 14.6 million international) flew commercial airlines in Pakistan in 2016-17, up from 20.7 million (6.95 million domestic, 13.76 million international) in 2015-16, according to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Riaz Haq said...

#Emirates’ special one-off #A380 flight landed in #Islamabad #Pakistan on Sunday with celebrities, officials, diplomats and journalists on board. #Airline intends to make the #superjumbo a regular daily flight in future to #NewIslamabadAirport

Emirates’ special one-off A380 flight landed in Islamabad on Sunday with celebrities, officials, diplomats and journalists on board.
Arrival of the airline’s iconic double-decker special flight EK2524/EK2525 to Islamabad also made history in Pakistan’s aviation as it was the first A380 to have ever landed in Pakistan.

Two Emirates alumni pilots including Captain Ejazul Haq and Captain Fazle Ghani, who operated the first ever Emirates flight from Dubai to Karachi on October 25, 1985 were also among the guests on board. Captain Haq had operated the second Emirates flight from Dubai to Mumbai on the same day.

Though it was a one-off A380 flight between Dubai and Islamabad, the airline wants to make it a regular daily flight in future.
“This is our special flight but we want to operate regular daily flight on an A380 from Dubai to the new Islamabad airport which is fully equipped to receive the big aircraft,” said Shaikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations Centre, Emirates. The new Islamabad International airport opened in May.

Speaking to Gulf News on board the A380, Al Mualla said that negotiations with the authorities concerned in Pakistan have already started in this regard. We are very hopeful that passengers on this route would soon enjoy regular A380 flights.
“We came here to showcase our innovative products and will continue to work with authorities to realise our plans to increase capacity to all routes to Pakistan,” he added.
Building relations
The special A380 flight departed Dubai at 8.15am and arrived at the new Islamabad airport at 12.20pm. The flight departed Islamabad at 15:40 hours arriving in Dubai at 17:45 hours on the same day.
Hamad Al Za’abi, the UAE’s Ambassador to Pakistan who was also on board, told Gulf News: “It is a historic day for UAE and Pakistan. We operated the first flight to Pakistan and now brought the first A380 — the world’s largest aircraft — to Pakistan. It reflects that we are building on our relations. We want to make it a daily flight and we are working on it.”
Moazzam Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UAE, who was among the special guests on-board, said: “It is a new chapter in the Pakistan-UAE relations. Landing of the superjumbo in Pakistan would send a positive message to the business community and investors around the world that Pakistan is a growing market.”
He said that the government of Pakistan is in discussions with the UAE authorities to finalise agreement to allow Emirates to operate the A380 to Pakistan. “It is a win-win situation for both the countries. Emirates is very important to us as thousands of Pakistanis not only from UAE but from around the world use it to travel to and from Pakistan.”

Riaz Haq said...

#BritishAirways to resume flights to #Pakistan after "great improvements" in #security - BBC News

British Airways will resume flights to Pakistan next year after a 10-year absence that followed a major hotel bombing, becoming the first Western airline to restart flights to the South Asian nation.

BA halted flights following one of the most high-profile attacks in Pakistan’s history, the 2008 Marriott Hotel bombing in the capital, Islamabad, which took place during a period of devastating Islamist militant violence that swept the country.

But security has since improved, with militant attacks sharply down in the mainly Muslim country of 208 million people. In Islamabad, a web of road checkpoints dotted across the city for more than a decade has mostly been dismantled.

Richard Crowder, the Deputy British High Commissioner to Pakistan, told reporters in Islamabad BA’s return was in large part due to “an improvement in the security environment in this country”.

Pakistani officials hailed BA’s move, saying it will offer confidence to other foreign investors and make the country less isolated.

“Once it gets around the world that British Airways has put its stamp of approval on Pakistan, it will put us one or two notches up as a country to do business with,” said Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood.

BA, which is owned by Spanish-registered IAG, is due to begin the London Heathrow-Islamabad service on June 2, with three weekly flights by the airline’s newest long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

At present, only loss-making national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flies directly from Pakistan to Britain, but its aging fleet of planes is a frequent source of complaints by passengers.

Middle Eastern carriers Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates [EMIRA.UL] have a strong presence in Pakistan and have been eating into PIA’s dwindling market share. Turkish Airlines also lays on a regular service to Pakistan.

Islamabad has been running international advertising campaigns to rejuvenate its tourism sector that was wiped out by Islamist violence that destabilized the country following the 9/11 attacks in the United States in 2001 and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

Pakistan was formed at partition at the end of British rule in India in 1947 and more than a million people of Pakistani origin live in Britain.

Robert Williams, Head of Sales for Asia Pacific and the Middle East for British Airways, said the carrier believes the route “will be particularly popular with the British Pakistani community who want to visit, or be visited by, their relatives”.

Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari, a special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan, said “British Airways coming back after a decade shows you where we were and how far we have come”.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s #Gwadar International #Airport will be the largest in the country. Spread over an area of 4,300 acres, it will be able to land Airbus #A380, the biggest wide-body passenger #aircraft. #Balochistan #China #CPEC

The construction of the airport will be completed within three years at the cost of US$256million.

Unlike other projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are operating under concessional loans, the Airport is planned under a Chinese grant.

The airport will also be the biggest in Pakistan at an area of 4,300 acres.

It will be the biggest airport of Pakistan. In comparison to other airports like Karachi Airport (3,700 acres), Islamabad International Airport (3,600 acres), Lahore Airport (2,800 acres), the Gwadar Airport will be built on 4,300 acres.


The airport is one of several development projects in Gwadar worth $690 million which the Chinese government is financing as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.

The project is part of overall infrastructure development of Balochistan. It would be developed as a green-field facility with all modern facilities for safe operation.

The project would comprise a modern terminal building with cargo terminal having initial handling capacity of 30,000 tons per year.

On this occasion, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed for construction of Pakistan and China Vocational Training Institute and Pak-China Friendship Hospital.

Prime Minister Imran thanked the Chinese Ambassador for the grant given by the Chinese government for the airport.

Benefits to local people
He categorically said any development would be of no use unless it benefited the local people.

He said in the past, the locals were ignored while executing the development projects in Balochistan. He said gas worth billions of rupees was extracted from Sui but it could not change the living standard of the local people.

He said it was pleasing that the capacity of the hospital in Gwadar would be enhanced and a vocational training institute would also help create employment opportunities.

Prime Minister Imran announced to launch Insaf Sehat Card (health card) to provide health insurance cover worth Rs720,000 to every family.

He said previously power was being transmitted from Iran, but now the government had decided to link the area with national grid.

Desalination plant
A desalination plant would also be set up in the city and under Clean and Green Pakistan, one million saplings would be planted. Besides, a solid waste management system would also be established to protect the area from pollution.

He said following the models of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, the government had decided to recycle water in Gwadar to water the plants.

He told the gathering that Gwadar and Quetta would be linked through railways as it was the best travel mode but unfortunately Pakistan had been lagging behind in this sector.

Rail links
He said Chinese support was being sought to upgrade railway lines as China had the most advanced rail system. A high-speed rail link would cut travel time bewteen Karachi and Lahore to within four hours, instead of 18 hours by car, or 21 hours by bus at the moment.

Khan said having located at an ideal location and being well connected, Gwadar’s development would be the development of whole of Pakistan.

During the development process of the new airport, the existing airport’s capacity would also be enhanced by making it capable of transporting big aircrafts.

With the establishment of new international airport, the Gwadar city would become hub of aviation industry and it would also help elevating the CPEC framework.

Riaz Haq said...

World’s biggest plane lands at #Karachi Airport in #Pakistan on its way to #US. #Russian-built Antonov An-225 contained #military cargo being transported from #Afghanistan as part of withdrawal plan of #American forces from the war-torn country.


CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan - With its wingspan of 290-feet and a heft totaling 628,000 pounds, the Antonov An-225 dwarfs most other aircraft. But this giant of aviation accomplished a feat that even it would have been incapable of just a few months ago, landing at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, March 7.

The largest and heaviest aircraft in the world, the one-of-a-kind An-225 is currently operated by Ukraine’s Antonov Airlines and contracted to carry large cargo and supplies around the world.

“We fly out of the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and Germany,” said Alexander Klimov, an Antonov Design Bureau flight manager. “But this is our first chance to fly into here.”

The aircraft was able to land at Camp Bastion, because of the new capabilities of the runway here. The new 11,500 flightline at Camp Bastion officially opened in a ceremony, Feb. 11.

A combined effort of Marines, sailors and local contractors, the goal of the improved runway is to allow the joint camps of Bastion and Leatherneck to receive air traffic from larger aircraft, like the An-225.

“Camp Bastion’s flight line just opened up about a month ago for large aircraft,” said Maj. Erik B. Eldridge, operational planner with I Marine Expeditionary Force. “Now we are hosts to the largest aircraft in the world.”

Though the increased capabilities of the runway will allow larger aircraft like the C-5 Galaxy and Boeing 737 to land and launch from Camp Bastion’s runway, members of the Regional Command (Southwest) aviation community said it also benefits combat operations for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) and its coalition partners.

“We went from a 7,000 to 11,000 foot runway,” said Capt. Jeff Steele, the director of safety and standardization for Marine Aerial Refueler Transport squadrons deployed in support of operations in Afghanistan. “The difference now is it provides for completely unrestricted operations.”

The new runway is located adjacent to the previous 7,000-foot runway, which will remain as a functioning part of the flightline. Steele explained using both the old and new runways allow aircraft to taxi and move about the airfield more efficiently.

Riaz Haq said...

The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has performed a successful test flight at a Chinese-built runway in the mineral-rich region of Balochistan’s Saindak town, China Urdu reported.

The development comes a day after Juzzak Airport in the Chagai district of Balochistan was made operational for flights to and from Karachi mainly for the Chinese engineers working on projects in the region.

Last month, the Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was informed that the progress on New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) was on track and it would be fully operational by September 2023.

In a meeting of the committee presided over by Sher Ali Arbab, the Aviation Division secretary told the panel that the project, which was originally expected to be completed by next year, has been postponed till October 2023.

The China Airport Construction Group informed the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) about the new time limit for the project, deferring the project funded by the Chinese company.

According to the document obtained by The Express Tribune, the passenger terminal building of the project will be completed by June 2023; work related to air traffic control will be completed by March 2023 while the overall construction of the airport will finish by October 2023.

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Nearly 14 million passengers traveled overseas from Pakistan in 2019.

And over 6 million traveled domestically, according to Pakistan Civil Association Authority.

Riaz Haq said...

A new runway at Faisalabad International Airport will be completed by October this year, enabling Boeing 777 aircraft to land, said Airport Manager Muhammad Anwar Zia.

Addressing Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) here on Thursday, he added that the air cargo complex was also under construction and 75% of the work was expected to be completed before the runway becomes operational.

Zia expressed satisfaction over the available passenger load and air cargo and said that 102 domestic and international flights were successfully operating from Faisalabad airport.

Zia expressed satisfaction over the available passenger load and air cargo and said that 102 domestic and international flights were successfully operating from Faisalabad airport.

He said the old runway could only accommodate small planes, which prompted authorities to construct a new runway for wide-bodied aircraft, in view of the projected increase of passengers and air cargo from the city and its catchment areas.


The new runway will be completed by October this year, enabling Boeing 777 to land at Faisalabad International Airport.

This was stated by airport manager Muhammad Anwar Zia at a meeting with FCCI officials on Thursday.

He said the air cargo complex was also under construction and 75 per cent of the work would be completed before the runway becomes operational.

He expressed satisfaction over the available passenger load and air cargo and said the airport was in a deficit of Rs220 million when he was posted here.

“It is now earning a profit of Rs2 billion,” he said and added that presently 102 domestic and international flights are operating from this airport facility in a month. He said that only small planes could land on the old runway, prompting authorities to construct a new runway.

He said a study was conducted to evaluate the passenger load before contacting international airlines. At that time the available passenger load was only 70,000 which jumped to 500,000 and is now expected to cross the mark of 800,000 within the next few years. He said that in a similar pattern, we must calculate the available tonnage of air cargo so that the airlines could be convinced to launch a dedicated air cargo service from this port.

He asked the FCCI to share data on air cargo so that a comprehensive study could be finalised. Four planes can be parked at a time and more facilities will also be arranged after calculating the passengers and air cargo shipments, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's international passenger traffic was 11 million and domestic was 6 million in 2021-22:

India's was 22 million international and 166 million domestic in 2022.

High domestic air traffic depends on two factors: territorial size (distances) of the country and the quality of its land transportation infrastructure. Both these factors cause Indian domestic air traffic to be higher than Pakistan's

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Pakistan plans to privatise its loss-making national carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIAa.PSX), the government said on Monday, as the country also seeks to outsource its airport operations in line with an IMF deal.

The privatisation decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee of Privatisation chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The committee "after deliberation decided to include Pakistan International Airlines Co. Ltd in the list of active privatisation projects of the ongoing privatisation programme, following an amendment in the law by the Parliament," a finance ministry statement said.

The committee also backed the hiring of a financial adviser to process the transaction of Roosevelt Hotel, New York, an asset of the PIAInvestment Limited, it added.

Pakistan hopes to resume PIA flights to Britain in the next three months after services were suspended following a fake pilot scandal.

The PIA flights to Europe and the UK have been suspended since 2020 after the European Union's Aviation Safety Agency revoked the national carrier's authorisation to fly to the bloc following the pilot licence scandal.

The privatisation of a state-owned enterprise, the PIA, which has accumulated hundreds of billions of rupee in losses and arrears, comes after Pakistan agreed to fiscal discipline plans with the International Monetary Fund.

Pakistan secured a $3 billion IMF bailout in June.

Reporting by Asif Shahzad in Islamabad and Baranjot Kaur in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman, Mark Potter and Alistair Bell

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Boost to tourism: First international flight lands at Skardu airport
In a touching gesture, the captain of the flight opened a window and proudly hoisted the national flag

SKARDU: A historic moment unfolded at Skardu International Airport as flight PK 234 touched down, marking it the first-ever international flight to land on Skardu soil.

The arrival was celebrated with a heartwarming water cannon salute, painting the skies with a majestic display of water arcs.

In a touching gesture, the captain of the flight opened a window and proudly hoisted the national flag, symbolising the unity and pride of the nation. Traditional hats and thoughtful gifts were joyously distributed among the passengers aboard the inaugural flight, setting the tone for a remarkable journey.

While the initial tourist count was modest, with only 80 passengers on this milestone flight, officials from the national airline revealed that these travelers had embarked on a journey from Dubai to Skardu, making a connecting stop at Skardu. This strategic connection is expected to pave the way for an influx of tourists, injecting new life into the local tourism industry.

The residents of Skardu are excited at this as a momentous step towards boosting the region’s tourism. With Skardu being renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, the commencement of international flights is anticipated to open doors to a world of opportunities.

The successful landing of the first international flight on the auspicious occasion of Independence Day has added an extra layer of jubilation to the festivities.