Pakistani Airlines Under Fire For Domestic Flight Cancellations

Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority is cracking down on high cancellation rates among local airlines. The PCAA has issued…

Pakistani Airlines Under Fire For Domestic Flight Cancellations

Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority is cracking down on high cancellation rates among local airlines. The PCAA has issued notices to four airlines regarding recent unacceptably high levels of domestic cancellations.

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority is calling out four airlines for recent high levels of cancellations. Photo: Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority

Pakistan’s airlines cancel domestic flights in favor of international charters

In the first 18 days of October, four Pakistani airlines canceled 383 (or 33.4%) of 1,145 scheduled domestic flights. As a result, Pakistan International Airlines, Serene Air, Airblue, and Airsial all received please explain notices from the PCAA.

“It has come to our notice through various public complaints/feedback forums that airline operators engaged in the operation of scheduled domestic flights within Pakistan have been canceling confirmed scheduled domestic flights,” said the PCAA on Twitter,

According to The Nation newspaper, the airlines canceled their scheduled domestic flights to divert aircraft for use on international charters.

On raw numbers, Pakistan International Airlines was the worst offender, canceling 130 (31.1% out of 417 domestic flights in the 18 day period. Serene Air canceled 117 (46.8%) of its 250 flights, Airblue canceled 86 (32.9%) out of 261 flights, and AirSial pulled 50 (23%) out of 217 domestic flights.

Moving to prevent a recurrence, the PCAA formally reminded the four airlines their right to fly depended on them meeting reliability benchmarks. The PCAA said canceling scheduled flights to divert the aircraft to operate an international charter was unacceptable.

“Cancellation of domestic flights, if any, will only be made consequent on technical reasons or force majeure circumstances,” says the PCAA.

The PCAA pulls permission to operate international charters

The PCAA asked the four airlines to undertake that domestic schedules would not suffer in favor of operating international charters. Over the immediate term, the PCAA has stopped granting the airlines permission to operate international charters and will make airlines request permission to operate them on a case-by-case basis in the longer term,

“Prior to requesting any permission for international chartered flights, airline operators will submit an undertaking to the PCAA that domestic flight schedule approved for any ongoing scheduling session will be operated with a minimum flight regularity and punctuality of 90% and 80% respectively.”

The PCAA acknowledged operating international charters was often more profitable than flying domestic sectors, but the agency notes Pakistani airline operators have an obligation to Pakistanis.

“Commercial interest in operating international flight operations may be enticing in the current times, but it is the duty of the PCAA to uphold the spirit of public convenience and necessity,” the PCAA said.

“In the same connection, an adequate balance between domestic flight operations and international flight operations is mandatory.”

Pakistan-Domestic-Flight-Cancelations
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had the most calations in the first half of October. Photo: Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority

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Pakistanis welcome the PCAA’s move

There are a distinct set of challenges facing airlines flying in Pakistan. The market is considered to have enormous potential but is plagued by problems, including security issues, safety problems, and poor infrastructure.

For the average Pakistani, relatively weak competition among airlines operating within the country not only pushes up ticket prices but also causes problems with punctuality and reliability – issues that register on every airline passenger’s radar.

The action by the PCAA appears to be well received by the Pakistani public. “The CAA’s action is much appreciated,” one person posted online. “Hopefully, it is a firm step.”

Another person suggested airlines get fined for canceling without a valid reason, saying until the airlines get penalized, they will keep canceling flights.

“It’s a great initiative,” said another.

What do you think? Was the PCAA right to step in here, or should Pakistan’s airlines be allowed the chase charter revenue at the expense of scheduled services? Post a comment and let us know.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Boeing 707: Air India Was The 1st Asian Airline To Enter The Jet Age

The pairing of Air India and Boeing 707 was one of the most successful of its time. One…

Boeing 707: Air India Was The 1st Asian Airline To Enter The Jet Age

The pairing of Air India and Boeing 707 was one of the most successful of its time. One was a highly respected airline known for its hospitality and onboard services; the other was an aircraft often credited with ushering in the era of the jet age in the truest sense. Both complemented each other perfectly and together developed into a formidable force in the aviation world.

Air India enjoyed some of its most glorious years with the Boeing 707. Photo: Eduard Marmet via Wikimedia Commons

Origins

Before Boeing, the UK, France, and Russia had developed their own jet-powered civilian planes, but none could mainstream jet travel the way 707 did. The British de Havilland Comet created buzz when it first flew in 1952, but the airplane’s structural problems quickly dented its reputation.

The Boeing 707 entered commercial service in 1958 with Pan Am, flying from New York to Paris with a refueling stopover in Gander, Canada. Within two years, the narrowbody quadjet revolutionized air travel. Although initially intended for medium-range flying, the 707 soon became the aircraft of choice for cross-Atlantic and continental flights. Boeing produced further 707 variants and even custom-designed the airplane for many customers, further consolidating its position throughout the 1960s.

Boeing 707: Air India Was The 1st Asian Airline To Enter The Jet Age
When Air India received its first Boeing 707 in 1960, the aircraft had already established itself as a trusted jetliner. Photo: Steve Fitzgerald via Wikimedia Commons

By this time, Air India was also emerging as an airline of repute. Founded by well-known businessman JRD Tata, the carrier started as Tata Air Services, flying mails around Karachi and Bombay. As it grew over the years, the carrier rebranded itself as Tata Airlines and started flying passengers and cargo.

After World War II, the airline became a public limited company and was renamed Air India Limited. In 1953, the carrier was fully nationalized, but JRD Tata remained its chairman until 1977.

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Air India enters jet age with 707

Air India received the delivery of its first Boeing 707 named Gauri Shankar in 1960. Before that, the carrier used the Lockheed Constellation series of airplanes on its international routes to places like London, Geneva, and Cairo.

With the 707 in its fleet, Air India became the first Asian airline to enter the jet age and by 1962, had become the first carrier in the world to operate an all-jet fleet.

The 707 complemented Air India’s growing ambitions tremendously. Faraway destinations, which until then were out of reach, soon became a reality. On May 14th, 1960, Air India flew to New York City for the first time using the jetliner, becoming the first Asian airline to operate a transatlantic flight.

Soon, the airline featured the 707 in its advertisements, boasting several key destinations, including Sydney, Australia. The aircraft helped the airline become bolder in its approach to route planning and paved the way for the bigger 747 jumbo to consolidate its position as a premium carrier in the next few years.

Accidents

While Air India certainly benefitted from the 707, the aircraft’s operational history with the carrier is also dented by two accidents.

In January 1966, an Air India 707 crashed near the summit of Mont Blanc in the Alps. The plane was on a regular Bombay to New York flight when it went down, killing all 117 onboard.

The second accident involved the very first 707 delivered to the carrier – Gauri Shankar. In June 1982, the airplane was on a scheduled service between Kuala Lumpur and Bombay, with stopovers in Singapore and Madras. Due to bad weather, it skidded off the runway in Bombay, killing 17 people onboard.

Over the next few decades, Air India went through significant ups and downs, with the last few years particularly turbulent for the carrier. With the airline now back with the Tatas, everyone is hoping for it to recreate its glory days of the ‘60s and ’70, of which the Boeing 707 was an important chapter.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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