Air travel has seen an increase due to the growing middle-income group of the country and an increased per-capita income.
Last year, about 10% of the population (approximately 20 million people) have traveled through both domestic and international airlines from and to various airports.
Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Pakistan, Shahzad Dada, said at the launch of the Emirates Standard Chartered Credit Card, “Number of air travelers has increased 40% in the last 5 years to 20 million people in Pakistan.” According to Dada, growth in air travelers corresponds to the growth of per capita income to around $1,700.
Emirates Vice President for Pakistan, Jabr Al-Azeeby, claimed, “Air traveling has become more affordable [in Pakistan].”
The Economic Survey of Pakistan 2016-17 suggests that per capita income has seen an increase and grown up to $1,629 from $1,531 as compared to the previous fiscal year.
According to Euromonitor International, Pakistan has a growing middle-income group, which is estimated to exceed that of the UK and Italy during 2016-2021.
This increase in the middle class may be due to a growing retail market which is expected by Euromonitor to expand 8.2% per annum from 2016 to 2021 as disposable income has doubled since 2010.
Another reason for this rise in air travel, as suggested by civil aviation experts, is the decrease in jet fuel prices and low inflation in the last few years. This drop in has allowed airlines to retain the prices for their tickets.
Last year, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) reported issuing an additional 1 million tickets.
A PIA official, Mashood Tajwar, told a local news agency, “Pakistan’s aviation industry is increasing at an average growth rate of 8-10% per annum, which is more than double the 3.5-4% growth rate globally.”
This growth is reflected from the fact that Pakistan introduced one new local airline last year, while other local airlines have increased the size of their fleet.
Sources at the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority claim that some new investors are also involved in acquiring rights to set up new airlines in the country.
According to experts, air travel is expected to grow in Pakistan after the formal completion of the infrastructure and power projects worth billions of dollars under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as well.