CHAGAI: The national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines, has stopped operating the Karachi to Dalbandin route due to financial losses, said its officials on Saturday, amid an outcry from residents who called for its immediate restoration.

Abdul Hafeez, a PIA official based in Karachi, told Dawn that lately the carrier was observing a decrease in the number of passengers in its ATR aircraft route PK-521 and often most seats were unoccupied. Moreover, the route had been for a while converted as an “extra section”, a PIA official based in Dalbandin told Dawn.

The flight often taken by Chinese engineers working on the Saindak copper-gold mine project located near Saindak town in Chagai district of Balochistan can still be utilised by them but they will have to book the aircraft as a chartered plane whenever they require, added the Dalbandin-based official.

Meanwhile, the shutting down of the PIA service from Karachi to Dalbandin had left many people upset and they demanded the resumption of the route on social media platforms.

People from Chagai, Washuk districts and Iran preferred travelling by air to Karachi as the fare was affordable and covering the 1,400 kilometres distance from Dalbandin city to Karachi by road takes several hours, said some of the residents.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019