Arshad Malik says airline running chartered flights to Kabul
Reporting by Rizwan Alam
Pakistan International Airlines has resumed its flights to Gulf states, Arshad Malik, CEO of the national carrier, has revealed
PIA had been banned from operating flights to the Gulf countries such as Kuwait as a measure to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. The operation was, however, resumed on November 9 after a downward trend was seen in cases of the deadly virus.
At a talk with journalists Friday, Malik said that a decision regarding resuming flights to and from Saudi Arabia is still on the tenterhooks. “Around 40% of PIA’s profits comprise of earnings from operations to the Kingdom,” he said, “The suspension has led to losses.”
The airline is, however, hopeful that restarting flights to Gulf states will compensate for the losses.
Malik said that PIA is just running chartered flights to Kabul.
“War insurance charges are one of the hindrances in resuming regular flights to the Afghan capital,” he told journalists. “There are security and radar issues at the Kabul airport as well.”
The PIA CEO added that he recently met Afghan officials and discussed the issues with them. A solution is expected to be reached by the end of the month.
PIA suspended its flights to Kabul last month over “inappropriate behavior of the Civil Aviation Authority of Afghanistan and the Taliban government”. The national carrier was the first airline to operate the first international flight to Afghanistan on September 13, post the Taliban takeover.
A new airplane is on cards for PIA as well. Malik revealed that three new airplanes will be added to the national carrier’s fleet next year. All of these will be of the 2017 model. Most of PIA’s airplanes are of the 2007 model.
He added that PIA will soon purchase an A320 simulator as well. The aircraft will help the company train its pilots. “Once we get it, we won’t have to send our pilots abroad and will be able to save millions of dollars.”