PIA Now Operates Tokyo To Beijing Fifth Freedom Flights

News from ch-Aviation reports that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is resuming its fifth freedom flight between Tokyo Narita and Beijing Capital as of May 30th, 2019. The airline will operate this flight twice per week using its Boeing 777-200ER. From Pakistan, the flights will depart from Islamabad (ISB).

PIA Now Operates Tokyo To Beijing Fifth Freedom Flights
The flight will take place every Monday and Friday. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Recently resumed, the fifth freedom flight between Beijing and Tokyo was suspended in mid-February 2019. This was due to disagreements surrounding to PIA’s traffic rights, although flights to Beijing were able to continue without interruption. According to the website The News, the disagreements were mainly regarding restrictions on carriage of passengers and cargo. In an official statement, PIA said:

“The Tokyo sector was suspended earlier this year in February due to passenger and cargo uplift limitations by Japan Civil Aviation Authority. Under the suspension, upon completion of required monthly passenger quota, the airline was not allowed to operate flights to Tokyo, thereby making it non-viable destination on commercial basis,”

PIA has had a rough start to the year when a scandal broke in January regarding five of their pilots flying without licenses. The saga continued when PIA had to fire more than 70 staff for using fake qualifications to get their jobs.

The route

Regarding the route, in the statement to media, PIA said:

“The airline will now operate twice a week flights for the sector Islamabad-Beijing-Tokyo every Friday and Monday,”

The flights will have the numbers PK852/853. From Beijing (PEK) the flight will depart at 8:15am and arrive in Tokyo Narita (NRT) at 12:55pm. The scheduled duration for this journey is 3 hours and 40 minutes. The return flight from Tokyo to Beijing will depart NRT at 2:55pm and arrive at PEK at 4:35pm lasting 3 hours and 10 minutes.

PIA Now Operates Tokyo To Beijing Fifth Freedom Flights
The flight is to be approximately three and a half hours in duration. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to sources, a PIA spokesperson said that these flights resuming will offer more convenience and comfort – especially to Pakistanis who live in Japan, as they have been facing difficulties traveling to their homeland.

This flight will also provide more options between the two cities. Other airlines flying this route include:

  • Air China
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Japan Airlines (codesharing with China Southern and China Eastern)

Picking a random date of July 26, it appears that PIA is the cheapest direct flight available from Tokyo to Beijing. It is currently selling for $247USD while the next lowest appearing is Air China at $525USD!

Fifth freedom flights

Every now and then we write about fifth freedom routes and the airlines that use them. In fact, earlier this month we wrote about Emirates seeking additional fifth freedom routes to the United States.

For those unfamiliar with the topic, the freedoms of the air are a set of internationally accepted commercial aviation rights. These rights permit one country’s airline the privilege to enter and land in another country’s territory.

My personal favorite fifth freedom flight is the Cathay Pacific flight between Vancouver and New York’s JFK airport. With North American carriers notorious for poor or basic service, flying with  Cathay Pacific on their Boeing 777 within North America is quite a treat.

PIA Now Operates Tokyo To Beijing Fifth Freedom Flights
PIA has a fleet of 10 Boeing 777s. Flickr user Alan Wilson

Do you have any favorite fifth freedom routes? And now that this route is back in the schedule, do you have any plans to fly it?