Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is desperately trying to find alternative arrangements to transport Pakistani passengers to Europe and the United Kingdom. PIA has planned to start operations to Turkey from the first week of August 2020 provided the relevant permissions. PIA has a codeshare agreement with Turkish Airlines and it has recently concluded a “codeshare agreement with Turkish low-cost giant Pegasus Airlines” as well. PIA is now desperately trying to keep its market share intact while it battles out of the EASA ban. PIA has firmed up plans for operations between Turkey and Pakistan.
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Recently Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Aksi replied to a letter written by PIA CEO Air Marshal (retired) Arshad Malik saying 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”.
PIA CEO also wrote to Pakistani Ambassador in Turkey to help the airline get back its Istanbul flights. He wrote, “among several destinations earmarked for reinstatement, Istanbul has been marked for immediate restoration in-flight operations PIA already has commercial agreements in place with Airlines in Turkey”.
PIA has also sent a request to the Airport Authorities of Sabiha Gokcen (SAW) for clearance of schedule for which permissions are still awaited. PIA CEO requested the ambassador that “due to the urgency of the situation, may I request you to assist PIA in approaching Sabiha Gokcen airport authorities for clearing PIA schedules at the earliest so that PIA can start flights for Turkey”.
Turkish Airlines CEO was not very encouraging in his reply as he wrote that “we have been in long-lasting interline cooperation within the scope of our ongoing Codeshare and Special Prorate Agreement. However, considering the networks of both airlines, we see that the volume and utilization of our agreements have been lower than our expectations”. But he wrote “we would like to inform you that we are ready to revise our SPA cooperation as bilateral basis by including PK’s IST flights to our existing Special Prorate Agreement for the first stage”.
He also wrote that “we propose to upgrade our codeshare from unilateral to a bilateral arrangement once the performance of our SPA reaches a satisfying level and we can obtain the necessary exceptions from Star Alliance due to governance rules & regulations”. He has appointed the company’s SVP International Relations & Alliances Ms.Ozlem Salihoglu and Manager International Relations and Agreements Mr. Nazif Tikenbatar for coordination and to exchange views on the enhancement of cooperation and to define the roadmap in line with the applicable regulations.
On the other hand, PIA entered a codeshare agreement with Pegasus Airline on January 31 this year. According to the plan, PIA will take passengers from Pakistan to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen International Airport and from there, passengers will travel onwards with Pegasus Airline on its network. This agreement will be applicable to 25 destinations in Europe and United Kingdom.
Pegasus Airline is a low-cost airline headquartered in the Kurtköy area of Pendik, Istanbul with bases at several Turkish airports. Pegasus was founded on 1 December 1989 when two businesses, Net and Silkar, partnered with Aer Lingus to create an inclusive tour charter airline called Pegasus Airlines. The airlines started its operation on 15 April 1990 with two Boeing 737-400s. In 1994 Aer Lingus and Net sold their shares in the company to Istanbul-based Yapi Kredibank, making Pegasus a purely Turkish company.
In January 2005, ESAS Holdings purchased Pegasus Airlines and placed Ali Sabanci as the chairman. Two months later, he changed the airline from a charter airline to a low-cost airline. The airline operates a mix of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. It is now becoming an all-Airbus Airline where all of its 737s will be phased out and replaced by the A320 series. Pegasus has a codeshare agreement with KLM, Alitalia, and Suadi airline Flynas.