travel to 16 cities of China through PIA


ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s national carrier has launched connected flights between Pakistan and 16 cities in China via Beijing

A senior official of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said the flights have been introduced in collaboration with Air China.

The cities now connected through PIA are Guangzhou, Wuhan, Urumqi, Shenzhen, Xian, Shenyang, Shanghai, Ningbo, Nanjing, Harbin, Hangzhou, Hohhot, Dunhuang, Chengdu, Changchun, and Chongqing.

Commenting on the expanded connectivity, PIA Country Manager Bilal Afzal said the carrier is currently operating one weekly flight on the Islamabad-Beijing-Islamabad route every Sunday but was exploring the option of adding a new direct flight between the two countries.

The official said PIA offers a 20% discount for students with free baggage of 80 kgs for the economy class while the allowed limit is 100 kgs for executive class, adding that discounts on cargo from China to Pakistan and vice versa are also being offered and businessmen and traders can avail the benefit. 

The expansion of the PIA operation is a piece of welcome news as the national carrier is facing severe challenges with each passing day. Recently, it demanded a bailout package worth Rs 23 billion from the federal government but the request was denied.

There have been demands for privatizing the national carrier due to its economic nonviability. Former Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique also stressed the importance of privatizing the carrier or else it would have to shut operations.

In the final days of the PDM regime, it was also decided to privatize loss-making Pakistan International Airlines during a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization chaired by then Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The committee “after deliberation decided to include Pakistan International Airlines Co. Ltd. in the list of active privatization projects of the ongoing privatization program, following an amendment in the law by the Parliament,” a finance ministry statement said.

The decision to privatize PIA comes amid measures to reduce the losses of the national exchequer through different state-owned enterprises; the national carrier is also set to resume flights to the United Kingdom and other European destinations by October.

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