FAISALABAD: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the country’s national flag carrier, has ensured an air cargo quota of 1.5 tons for Faisalabad to Karachi flights and will reduce travel time on the Faisalabad-Jeddah route from eight hours to 5.5 hours by making it a non-stop journey.
In a meeting with Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) President Syed Zia Alumdar Hussain, PIA District Manager Qaiser Iqbal recalled a series of PIA conferences, specifically focused on the air cargo shipment facility for Faisalabad.
Appreciating PIA Chairman Air Marshal Arshad Mehmood Malik for facilitating the city, Hussain assured complete cooperation from the chamber in transforming PIA into a leading and profitable airline of the world.
He welcomed PIA’s initiative to accommodate 1.5 tons of air cargo on Faisalabad-Karachi flights from where it would be sent to international destinations.
He pointed out that 1,000 tons of air cargo was available in Faisalabad according to conservative estimates. “Of this, only 400 tons are directly exported through the Faisalabad airport while the remaining was routed through Lahore and Sialkot airports,” he said.
He termed the allocation of 1.5-ton quota a positive sign, which would help PIA assess the availability of air cargo with projections of increase in the days to come.
Additionally, Hussain pointed out that it would assist PIA in enhancing capacity for air cargo, leading to inception of dedicated freight services from Faisalabad.
“Currently, 500,000 people travel from the Faisalabad airport every year and we expect the number to jump to 800,000 within the next couple of years,” he said.
Iqbal added that Faisalabad-Jeddah flights made a stopover at the Karachi airport for 1.5 hours for refueling. However, arrangements were now being made to start direct, non-stop flights.
He was of the view that it would trim down travel time from eight hours to 5.5 hours.
Hussain appreciated the steps taken by PIA’s new management and demanded that the air carrier start direct flights from Faisalabad to Dubai and London as sufficient passenger demand was available for such destinations.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2019.
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