Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Of 55 nations that fly non-stop to and from India, Pak 50th

MUMBAI: About 55 countries are air-linked to India by nonstop, commercial passenger flights, and if these nations were ranked on the basis of number of passengers who fly to and fro, Pakistan would be found holding a lowly 50th rank, ahead only of countries like Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, Tajikistan, Reunion Island and Yemen. Only 28,000 passengers boarded nonstop flights between India and Pakistan last year as against, say, the 21 lakh who flew between India and Sri Lanka. With Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) suspending its Karachi operations to India, the neighbour is now set to fall to the bottom of that list this year.
Currently , only PIA operates direct flights between India and Pakistan. On Monday , the last 189-seater PIA A320 aircraft took off from Mumbai airport for Karachi at 2.40pm with 120 passengers on board.Till now, PIA air-linked Mumbai with Karachi on Mondays and Thursdays. It has also suspended its Delhi-Karachi operations, leaving Lahore-Delhi as the only flight PIA will operate to India.
The airline had said the decision to suspend the Karachi flights was a commercial one and wasn't a result of the recent tension between the two neighbours. A look at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation statistics on the passenger traffic between India and Pakistan only corroborates that. In 2016, a total of 28,154 pas sengers flew between India and Pakistan on PIA 's Karachi-Mumbai, Karachi-Delhi and Lahore-Delhi to and fro flights. It was a fall of 27% as compared to the 38,652 passengers who flew between India and Pakistan in 2015 (the data doesn't include passengers who fly between India and Pakistan via the Middle East or other transit stops).
09/05/17 Manju V/The Times Of India