Wednesday Feb 17, 2021
KABUL: Aiming to increase cargo business to facilitate trade between the two countries, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is in talks with the neighbouring country to expand its flight operations to Afghanistan’s other destinations.
According to a statement issued by the national flag carrier, PIA Chief Executive officer (CEO) Air Marshal (Retd) Arshad Malik met Afghan Aviation Head, Dr Qasim Wafaizada, in Kabul and discussed avenues for increasing air links between the two countries.
The top PIA official informed Afghan authorities that PIA was planning to start flights to/from Kandahar and Mazar Shareef and was exploring avenues for increasing air cargo operations.
PIA chief also urged Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan to ensure swift guaranteed visa for PIA passengers coming to Pakistan during his visit to Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul.
He also met with officials of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and proposed expanding PIA’s network to the business centers of Afghanistan.
Enduring losses over billions, the national flag carrier has been struggling financially for a long time after various flights were grounded in March last year because of the on-going pandemic.
However, according to the PIA’s turnaround plan, the year “2020 would be a break-even year followed by a return to profitability in 2023.
The plan, which has not been made public, noted that PIA’s share of international flight traffic into Pakistan had fallen to 27% in 2019 down from 42% a few years earlier.