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Zara Airways: The story of an airline on paper that dreams of starting flights from Canada to Pakistan

Recently a ceremony as held at a private hotel in Karachi where organisers announced an airline that aims to launch flight operations between Canada and Pakistan. The owners and managers of the Canadian private airline Zara Airways said that it would start direct flights from Toronto to three major cities in Pakistan in August this year. The airline executive said that it will operate three weekly flights from Toronto to Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. It will use two Boeing 777 aircraft initially, and if there is demand they can increase the number of aircraft depending on demand. The executives also stated that they will take Shaheen Airport Services for ground and crew handling.

Is it really an airline?

Zara Airways is a limited company that was registered on 25 May 2023 in Canada. It has two directors one of them is based in Pakistan and second one in Canada. Faqir Bawar Hussain Bhakari a resident of DHA phae 2 Karachi and Syed Zafar Hussain Quli a resident of London, Ontario Canada. The company’s registered office is in Missisauga, Canada. But the faxct of the matter is that the airline is nowhere near launching operations in August as journalist Tahir Imran revealed in his investigative report.

According to Tahir the airline has not Air Operating Licence, has no permision on hand, no deal on hand for flights, for plane or even anything. Tahir said “an airline that is just 11 days old on paper is nowhere near to launch a transatlantic operation. It is not a child’s play to start flights to Pakistan on one of PIA’s most coveted route”.

The airline still has to get clearence from Air Canada that holds the rights to flights from Canada as per the Air Services Agreement between Pakistan and Canada. Then it has to get permissions from Candian Civil Aviation Authorities, get its flight codes, get its jets on dry or wet lease, get crew and other operational matters sorted out. At the same time they have to put up the website or some sale points so people could buy tickets. The part of operational permission in Pakistan are another nightmare that can take months if not years. So it will be a miracle if the airline could start perations within this year let alone in August this year.

So far no request has been presented to Air Canada, PIA or Canadian Civil Aviation authorites or Pakistani Civil Aviation. There is no plane, no lessor has been approached. When we snooped for how much money the people have the idea was to have few million dollars. Even that money has to come from lendors.

People behind the airline are from a family that used to have hotels in Pakistan like the Shehrzad hotel in Islamabad or the Hostellier de France in Karachi or Shahbagh hotel in Dhaka. This famil is descendants of Syed Zafar Ali who was one of the pioneers of hospitality industry in Pakistan. His sons Syed Rounaq Raza Zaidi and Syed Ansar Raza Zaidi. So the family has hospitality background but how much wealth they have or if they have heavy investors behind them is not clear.


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