KARACHI: A former managing director of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) clarified on Monday that the national flag carrier did not sign any agreement with the Turkish Airline in 2010 for the sharing of its routes.
“This has been confirmed by the Ministry of Defense and further verified during an enquiry conducted by the Defense Committee of the Senate headed by Senator Tariq Azeem,” said Aijaz Haroon, former MD of PIA in response to a report published in The News bearing headline ‘Revival of Pak-Turkish airline deal feared’ on October 12, 2012.
“It was only a ‘record of discussion’ that was held between the CEO of Turkish Airline and myself to broaden the code share agreement which already existed between the two airlines,” Haroon said.
“In this modern age and time…Passengers prefer airlines that offer a daily or double daily so that they can travel on any day of the week which suits their requirement”.“In PIA due to limited fleet and the never-ending process of aircraft procurement it was not possible to offer the product that remains most in demand.
It was, therefore, decided that PIA should get into an alliance and major code share with a carrier of repute by virtue of which PIA can avail their route and destinations for convenience of its passengers”.
“Turkish is one of the top carriers of Asia. PIA was getting access to all of Turkish Airline destinations from Istanbul and earning 15 percent on all passengers that PIA would sell. The entire inventory of Turkish was being opened for PIA. At present PIA is operating one or two flights to Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Milan and those too are not direct”.
Haroon said that the code share would have taken away the business of these Middle Eastern carriers by offering flights to more the 130 destinations in the West with one stop daily out of three major cities of Pakistan.
“In future we could have doubled these flights and the over 500 million dollars business that the Middle Eastern carriers are enjoying would have diverted to PK/TK”.
“On the North American sector, none of the direct flights being operated by either carrier were to stop. PIA would continue to operate to UK, France and any destination non-stop”.
Haroon said that the only affectees of this arrangement were the cockpit crew of PIA who would temporarily not get to fly to the America, thereby reducing their allowances, a major cost cutting for PIA.
The utilization of cockpit crew would have also increased because their days out of base would reduce, another cost saving for PIA.
He maintained that cabin crew would not have been affected as on PK/TK flights in addition to Turkish crew beyond Istanbul, Pakistani cabin crew would also operate to facilitate the passengers. On all such flights Pakistani cuisine would have been added.
Haroon clarified that in code share there was no selling of routes and the code share partner who had the rights of slots maintains them because in a code share call sign of both carriers.
Former MD PIA said that during his tenure Pakistan International Airlines’ losses were declining and in 2010 PIA had an operating profit of Rs.700 million and was on a road to recovery.Haroon also clarified that he is not an advisor in any capacity in Turkish Airline and working as an ordinary 777 captain which for the validity of his flying license remains mandatory.