Pakistan working on revival of airlines, airport and CAA assets

Pakistan has started working on a comprehensive plan for the operationalisation of long-closed airports on a commercial basis to boost regional connectivity and revive civil aviation assets worth billions of dollars that are lying idle in the country, a media report said on Sunday.

As part of the project, regional connectivity will be promoted, closed airports will be made operational, and Pakistan Airways, a subsidiary of the Pakistan International Airlines, will be reactivated, The Express Tribune reported, quoting official documents available with the paper.

A framework for regional connectivity was finalised at the domestic level, enabling the national airline to enter into a joint venture with any foreign company. For this purpose, Pakistan Airways can also be activated, which will operate as a regional airline, the report said.

The objective of this project is to make air travel accessible to all Pakistanis, besides repurposing the civil aviation assets worth billions of dollars, including airports that are lying idle, it added.

This includes creating employment opportunities and enhancing technical capabilities by connecting local people to the aviation industry.

According to the plan, this work is expected to increase the annual gross national product by USD 500 to USD 600 million.

Under the project small chartered aircraft with 20 or fewer seats will operate flights from all airports across the country and under regional connectivity, the paper said, citing documents.

Regular flights will be operated between Karachi, Turbat, Gwadar, Quetta, Larkana, Sukkur, Lahore, Peshawar, Chitral, Mianwali, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Rahim Yar Khan and Islamabad, the report said.

Currently, in a country like Pakistan with a population of 220 million, there are only 50 commercial aircraft, which are insufficient to provide travel facilities to the large population of the country, the report added.

If it is compared with other countries, there are 700 commercial planes in Turkey with a population of eight million, around 500 in Malaysia with a population of 3.28 million, and 250 commercial planes providing travel facilities in contrast to the neighbouring country of Iran.

According to the document, out of 42 airports in Pakistan, 27 airports are active, including 12 international and 15 domestic. Out of these 27 airports, only 15 airports are operating scheduled flights. Out of 10 major cities of Pakistan, only five cities are connected by air, the report said.

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