Pakistan being a country of 200 million (20 crore) is a big market for airline industry but so far only four airlines were operating domestic flights in Pakistan. Now it is being reported that 4 new airlines will start their operations in Pakistan.
The new airlines which have applied for issuance of license from Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are:
- Askari Air Pakistan
- United Airways Pakistan Limited (Air Pakistan)
- Liberty Air
- Afeef Zara Airways
These operators have applied for Regular Public Transport (RPT) Airline License which is under process in CAA as per Civil Aviation Rules (CARs) and National Aviation Policy (NAP). It is hoped that soon the license will be issued after these operators fulfill the criteria of Civil Aviation Authority.
The process from getting a license and starting the operations of airline is a long process. Serene Air received its license on March 2016 and the airline launched its operations after a year. Recently CAA also issued a license to M/s Air Sial Limited which is preparing to launch its operations soon.
Pakistani domestic market is a big market which remains untouched by any local airline despite the fact that each year millions travel from one part of the country to other. Recent rise in tourism and CPEC are thought to be the main reason for new airlines applying for license.
The name of ‘Askari Air’ also raised questions in senate where PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar asked that whether it is owned by Fauji Foundation which also owns more than 50 enterprises in the country and is run by retired officers of Pakistan Armed Forces.
Minister of parliamentary affairs had no idea whether it was owned by Fauji Foundation or not but only assured that it is an owned privately.