Saturday, April 30, 2005

More Pakistanis travel by air in the country

More and more Pakistanis are flying out from Karachi with the number reaching over 300,356 in the first three months of the current year from 211,089 in the corresponding period in 2004, it has been learnt.

Aviation experts attributed the increase to more aggressive marketing by airlines at Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar

The highest increase of 47 per cent was recorded in the Karachi-Peshawar sector with 21,457 passengers flying in the first quarter of this year. As many as 14,994 passengers travelled on this sector in the first quarter of the last year.

An increase of 39 per cent in air passengers was witnessed on the Karachi-Lahore and Karachi-Islamabad routes during the period. As many as 141,290 passengers left for Lahore and 131,765 for Islamabad.

The Pakistan International Airlines carried 145,788 passengers from Karachi to other parts of the county in the first quarter of the current year as compared to 143,506 in the corresponding period last year. The airline showed only 1.6 per cent growth in air passengers.

The data showed that 22 per cent or 64,891 passengers travelled by the Airblue in the first three months of the current year. The airline was not operational during the corresponding period last year.

Airblue Chief Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that the primary domestic routes in Pakistan have experienced a growth of over 42 per cent in the first quarter of 2005 when compared with the first quarter 2004.
“The growth in the month of March was a phenomenal 62 per cent,” he added.

Abbasi said the growth was primarily due to provision of additional capacity in the market and the availability of lower fares.
“Airblue has been the major stimulant for the growth with the addition of almost 20 per cent to the number of seats available on each sector, a reliable schedule, new-generation equipment, and fare structures based on market demand,” he said.

Around 21 per cent or 62,785 passengers travelled by the Aero Asia. The airline showed a remarkable increase of 153 per cent on its Karachi-Peshawar sector as it airlifted 4,234 passengers as compared to 1,676 last year.

According to Aero Asia Commercial Director Raees Khan, the number of air passengers swelled due to increase in the air traffic operations by the local airlines. “It also depends on the overall economic activity and demand,” he said and added that there was a better economic environments prevailing in the country, which led to a sharp rise in the number of air passengers.



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