Turkish Airlines is set to replace Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in Europe by offering reduced freight rates for the export of fruits and vegetables from Pakistan to European destinations.
Talking to The Express Tribune, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed said Turkish Airlines had assured Pakistani exporters that it would reduce freight charges on cargo flights to Frankfurt, London and other western cities.
“The airline has also promised provision of excellent facilities to promote export of fruits and vegetables to Europe,” he said. “Fruit and vegetable exporters were perturbed after Europe slapped a six-month ban on PIA flights owing to news of fake licences of Pakistani pilots.”
Keeping that in view, Pakistan Embassy Commercial Counsellor in Istanbul Bilal Khan Pasha met with Turkish Airlines’ Chairman -lker Aycı and discussed the commencement of commercial flights from Pakistan to the European Union member states, especially for the export of fruits and vegetables.
Ahmed pointed out that PIA had recently reduced freight charges for exporters aimed at reducing their costs and enhancing the export of fruits in the midst of Covid-19, however, businessmen could not avail the incentive due to the ban.
“Following the imposition of the ban, Pakistani exporters feared a rise in costs because of high freight charges demanded by foreign air carriers. However, Turkish Airlines has assured them of full cooperation and support during the present difficult times,” he said.
Such a move would help Pakistan keep its share in the European export markets, he added. Ahmed said a PFVA delegation met with Turkish Airlines General Manager in Pakistan Gurhan Sozen and stressed the need for reducing freight charges along with the offer of special handling facilities for perishable cargo.
“The economy of Pakistan is facing multiple challenges due to the global pandemic, which can only be met by enhancing exports from the country,” he remarked.
He added that the general manager requested for details of export volumes so that space for each shipment could be estimated and flights could be planned accordingly. “We will furnish details at the earliest so exports to Europe can resume.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2020.
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