Turkish Airlines Signs Codeshare Agreement With Pakistan International Airlines

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On Sunday, July 26th, Turkish Airlines approved a codeshare agreement with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). Turkish will help take PIA’s passengers to European destinations via its hub in Istanbul. Due to a recent PIA scandal involving fraudulent pilot licenses, the airline has been banned from flying in the UK and Europe.

Turkish Airlines recommencing flights from June
Before the pandemic, Turkish Airlines offered service to many destinations around the world, flying to more countries than almost any other airline. Photo: Getty Images

Details of the codeshare agreement

The expanded codeshare agreement will see PIA passengers travel to a number of UK and European destinations on flights operated by Turkish Airlines. According to Airline Geeks, new destinations include:

  • Birmingham (UK)
  • London (UK)
  • Milan (Italy)
  • Barcelona (Spain)
  • Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Oslo (Norway)

Sources indicate that the CEO of Turkish Airlines, M. Syrus Sajjad Qazi, had the following to say about the agreement as part of a letter to the Pakistani Ambassador to Turkey:

“Considering the networks of both airlines, we see that the volume and utilization of our agreements have been lower than our expectations. I believe that our cooperation could be developed to reach a more satisfying level with the addition of your proposed Birmingham, London, Milan, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Oslo points on our codeshare subject to related Civil Aviation Authorities` beyond codeshare approvals,”

EASA bans Pakistani licensed pilots
PIA is currently banned from flying to the EU, UK, and the US. Photo: Getty Images

This agreement is mutually beneficial for both carriers as Turkish Airlines can further fill its aircraft with passengers while PIA can offer more destinations. Details on how revenues would be divided were not disclosed.

It was also noted that the CEO of Turkish Airlines also proposed upgrading the codeshare from a unilateral to a bilateral arrangement at some point in the future when passenger volume recovers and reaches a ‘satisfactory’ level for Turkish Airlines.]

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A crucial deal for PIA

This expanded codeshare agreement is critical for PIA to capture a fraction of the business it has lost due to the pilot licensing scandal that emerged at the end of the previous month.

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On June 30th, EASA imposed a temporary ban on PIA, which prevented it from flying in Europe for six months. The reason for the suspension was due to news that 262 Pakistani pilots were revealed to have fake licenses and were not actually qualified to fly. This accounts for 30% of the airline’s pilots.

Addressing Pakistan’s National Assembly, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had the following to say in late June:

“. . . 262 pilots in the country did not take the exam themselves and had paid someone else to sit it on their behalf. They don’t have flying experience…PIA has grounded all its pilots who hold fake licenses, effective immediately.

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Port Harcourt, Turkish Airlines, Airbus A330
Turkish Airlines’ main hub is at the new Istanbul Airport. Photo: Getty Images

Ary News reports that on July 21st, PIA had drafted an appeal against the EASA ban. A PIA spokesman commented on the issue, saying that the airline was hopeful in its efforts to address concerns raised by the EASA after adopting a foolproof safety arrangement.

Do you think this is a good deal for both airlines? Let us know in the comments.

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