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Pakistan not to open airspace until India de-escalates: official

Updated July 12, 2019

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An arial view of the airplane hub at the airport in Karachi's Jinnah International Airport. — Reuters/File
An arial view of the airplane hub at the airport in Karachi's Jinnah International Airport. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has declined a request to open its airspace until India de-escalates, Aviation Secretary Shah­rukh Nusrat told a parliamentary committee.

“The Indian government approached asking us to open the airspace. We conveyed our concerns that first India must withdraw its fighter planes placed forward,” Mr Nusrat told the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation.

The aviation secretary was responding to questions from members of the committee, who were inquiring about profitable and loss-making routes of Pakis­tan International Airlines (PIA).

PIA Chief Executive Officer Air Marshal Arshad Malik presented to the committee members details of seven new routes that had been introduced to earn profits. Five loss-making routes were closed, he added.

According to the senior official, PIA revenue had jumped by 34 per cent after saving 20pc on operation costs, improving cargo services, controlling delays, fuel management and centralising food procurement.

He explained that the PIA had saved Rs35 million in two months after earning from excess baggage which were up by 11pc and improving cargo load factor by 55pc.

“We have also recovered a Boeing 777 and an A-320 Airbus lying abandoned for 15 months after repairing them at a cost of $3 million. The fleet is now 28 strong and we are leasing two new aircraft,” Air Marshal Malik informed the members.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2019