KARACHI: Shaheen Air International, Pakistan’s largest private-sector airline, on Thursday added a new short-to-medium range aircraft, A319, to its fleet with a new logo and upgraded services.
“The new aircraft will replace A320 on domestic routes. It has the capacity to accommodate 150 passengers,” Faisal Rafique, Chief Commercial Officer of the airline, said at the Karachi airport.
Shaheen Air plans to increase fleet size
With the new induction, the number of aircraft in Shaheen Air’s fleet has gone up to 25.
The airline will receive six more Airbuses, A319s, in the next six months. “Shaheen Air will receive one A319 every month,” he said.
The arrival of airplanes in a phased manner would help the carrier divert larger aircraft, A320s, to international destinations, the official added.
The availability of the new aircraft would help the airline expand its wings worldwide. “We are focusing on the Far East to expand our international business,” he said.
Shaheen Air Chief Marketing Officer Zohaib Hassan added the airline was flying on seven domestic and 13 international destinations at present.
“The fleet expansion will allow us to fly on another four to five domestic destinations in the next one year. At the same time, we will also increase the number of international destinations,” he said.
“The airline is also considering increasing the number of A330-200 aircraft in the fleet. We may order the planes when traffic on long-distance international routes increases.”
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He estimated a 20-30% growth in domestic operations of the airline in the last fiscal year 2015-16. “On an average, 3.5 million passengers fly with Shaheen Air every year. The number would be higher in 2015-16.”
He said absolute business numbers would be available in the next couple of months.
Hassan added the rebranding with a new logo had not only changed the face and look of the airline, but it would also lead to improved services to the passengers.
“The rebranding has allowed the airline to design crew uniforms with Urdu fonts and made call centres automated, which means complaints of passengers about the quality of food and standard of services will now be responded automatically,” he said.
According to a statement, the new brand identity goes beyond the aspect of a logo’s evolution to deliver the highest standards of service, punctuality and reliability, marked by genuine hospitality. The airline began its journey as Pakistan’s first private airline 24 years ago.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2017.
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