Turkish Airlines welcomes PIA’s Istanbul operations plan

Updated 27 Jul 2020

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PIA plans to start operations to Turkey from the first week of August, says CEO Arshad Malik. — AFP/File
PIA plans to start operations to Turkey from the first week of August, says CEO Arshad Malik. — AFP/File

RAWALPINDI: Turkish Airlines has welcomed a plan of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to start its operations to Turkey from next month.

In response to a letter of PIA CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik to Turkish authorities in which he informed them of the plan, the Turkish Airlines’ CEO said he was pleased to hear that PIA planned to start Istanbul operations.

Turkish Airlines has agreed to revise the Special Prorate Agreement (SPA) and proposed to upgrade Codeshare from unilateral to bilateral agreement once the performance of SPA reaches a satisfactory level and also appointed a commercial team to make arrangements for the agreement.

Air Marshal Malik has said that PIA planned to start operations to Turkey from the first week of August provided the Aeronautical Authorities of Turkey granted it relevant authorisations to operate the flights.

In reply, the Turkish Airlines’ CEO said as the threat from Covid-19 persisted, partnerships would gain importance. Airlines would need to support each other.

“Therefore, we deeply appreciate your offer to enhance our existing cooperation for both airlines’ mutual benefit,” he added.

He further said “you may also be aware that we have been in long-lasting interlining cooperation within the scope of our ongoing Codeshare and Special Prorate Agreement. How-ever, considering the networks of both airlines, we see that the volume and utilisation of our agreements have been lower than our expectations.

“I believe that our cooperation could be developed to reach a more satisfying level with the addition of your proposed Birmingham, London, Milan, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Oslo points on our Codeshare, subject to related Civil Aviation Authorities’ beyond codeshare approvals.”

“Moreover, we would like to inform you that we are ready to revise our SPA cooperation as a bilateral basis by including PK’s IST flights to our existing Special Prorate Agreement for the first stage,” he said.

The Turkish Airlines’ CEO proposed to upgrade codeshare from unilateral to a bilateral arrangement once the performance of the airlines’ SPA reached a satisfactory level.

“We can obtain the necessary exceptions from Star Alliance due to governance rules & regulations.”

“In this regard, our SVP International Relations & Alliances Ms Ozlem Salihoglu (oozturk@thy.com) and Manager International Relations and Agreements Mr Nazif Tikenbatar (ntikenbatar@thy.com) will be coordinating a meeting with their counterparts to exchange views on enhancement of cooperation and to define the road map in line with the applicable regulations. Thereafter, our teams may report to us the outcome of their discussions so that we can arrange a face to face meeting with your side according to your convenience to sign the enhanced SPA or Codeshare agreements, accordingly.”

He added in his letter: “I would like to reiterate my sincere wish for the development of our cooperation and hope to meet you soon once our commercial teams make the agreements ready for signature through our mutual efforts.”

In a letter to Pakistan Ambassador to Turkey Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi, PIA CEO Arshad Malik had said that PIA had plan­ned to start operations to Turkey from the first week of August provided the Aerona­utical Authorities of Turkey granted relevant authorisations to operate flights.

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2020