Ahsan Iqbal directs to start int’l flights from Quetta airport by Aug 14

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ISLAMABAD: Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Friday directed to operationalise international flights from Quetta Airport by August 14 to facilitate overseas Pakistanis from Balochistan.

It would particularly enhance the connectivity of the people of province with the Middle East, which hosted a large number of Pakistani diaspora working there, he said while chairing a meeting to finalise the pricing model of fares for airports in Balochistan for higher traffic volumes and enhanced air-connectivity of the provinces.

Advisor Maritime Affairs Jawad Khokhar, Additional Secretary Planning Dawood Muhammad Bareach, secretary aviation, Balochistan chief secretary, Pakistan International Airlines chief executive officer and Civil Aviation Authority deputy director general attended the meeting. Ahsan Iqbal said direct Hajj flights from Quetta to Jeddah would also be started, which would facilitate the pilgrims hailing from the province, who currently used the indirect routes via Karachi / Islamabad.

The meeting was told that the PIA was operating 30 flights weekly to three cities of Balochistan.

The minister said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had directed to mainstream the flight operations for the people of Balochistan and to alleviate their sense of isolation.

He observed that the dynamic pricing model being practiced currently, created hike in fare pricing which discouraged the people to opt for air travel. He directed to devise a fair price structure mechanism that “is static which does not lead to skyrocket the airfares. It is our utmost priority to address the low volume of domestic flights connecting the people of Baluchistan to other parts of the country.” Ahsan Iqbal stressed that all airlines like Serene, Air Sial and others should also operate on Balochistan routes for maximum facilitation of the people of province.

He also directed to ensure inauguration and shifting of flight operations from old Gawadar Airport to New Gawadar Airport on March 23, 2023,. It would be a gift for the people of Balochistan on Pakistan Day, he added.

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