Pakistan International Airlines returned to Mashhad first time after 5 years. Flight PK119 brought 165 passengers from Lahore the holy city of Mashhad on 30th December. Air travel between Pakistan and Iran has been dominated by Iranian airline from past many years. At one point over 6 Iranian airlines were operating flights between Iran and Pakistan while not a single Pakistani airline operated any regular service.
Air travel between Pakistan and Iran has always been a very hot sector specially for “zaireen” who visit Iran for spiritual or religious reasons. PIA recently started its direct flights between Lahore and Mashhad and soon after Iran Air and Taban Air started their flights between the two key cities. PIA is also starting flights between Karachi and Mashhad. Iran Air also started its flight from Mashhad to Lahore.
In recent months PIA has connected the 4 key cities where Pakistani Zaireen go to its network. PIA is currently flying to Najaf, Mashhad, Damascus and Baghdad. And at the same time it has competitors who are vying for their share in the market. In the past Pakistan’s now defunct airline Shaheen Air operated the Lahore to Mashhad flights for some time.