Pakistan International Airlines has announced that it will drop fares on key domestic routes starting from today. Flights from Karachi to Islamabad and Lahore will see a drop in price on one-way tickets, with an option to pay slightly more for up to 35 kg of baggage allowance. The news comes as PIA struggles with a lack of international passengers and low demand.
With demand for flights still low, PIA is hoping a drop in fares can get things moving once again. The airline has done this in the recent past too. It dropped fares in July right before Eid al-Adha to take advantage of the holiday travel.
With the new price drop, a flight between Karachi and Islamabad is set at Rs. 7879 ($47) for the one-way journey. While previous offers were hand-baggage only fares, this time, the fare drops extend to check-in fares too. Passengers may carry up to 35 kg of baggage and pay a total of Rs. 8543 ($51).
Other routes will also see price cuts, including flight between Lahore and Islamabad and Karachi. With the new prices, PIA is hoping that passengers will be willing to get on a flight to visit family and friends and increase passenger capacity.
Tough year for PIA
The push toward domestic flights comes as Pakistan International Airlines is banned from flying to the EU and the US for now. Following a deadly crash on a domestic flight in May, an investigation found that hundreds of PIA pilots were flying with fake licenses and were not qualified to fly.
These findings led to Europe’s aviation watchdog, EASA, to ban Pakistan International from its many European destinations. The ban left PIA unable to fly repatriation missions to bring home its citizens and dealt a blow to its finances.
While international flights to popular destinations are mostly out the frame for a while, PIA is likely betting on domestic recovery. While daily COVID-19 cases are down, the country is still seeing over 600 cases a day. A number of passengers flying out of Pakistan have also tested positive, forcing airlines to require tests before flying. New options
With international flights out and domestic recovery still sluggish, PIA has been making plans to continue operations. The airline signed a codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines, allowing them to connect passengers to Europe with a single stop in Istanbul. We could see services from Pakistan to Turkey increase, and more destinations added if the codeshare does well.
PIA has also partnered with Hi Fly to repatriate its citizens from France and the UK and could do so again if the need arises. For now, PIA is hoping for a robust domestic recovery and fixing its internal license issues so that it can fly internationally once again at the end of the current ban.
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