Pakistan’s aviation industry has faced a major setback as Shaheen Air International (SAI) has decided to reduce its fleet size.
Because of this decision, the airline is laying off its employees and returning long-term lease aircrafts. According to the details, SAI is fighting regulatory and taxation battles and the airline has faced a number of problems in the past as well including airline’s head office being sealed following non-payment of tax.
Sources close to ProPakistani have disclosed that SAI will reduce its fleet size, employees and destinations it operates — in that order.
The airline currently has 18 aircrafts and 6 of them belong are on long-term lease from Jordanian Airline. The cabin and cockpit crew also belongs to Jordan and their contracts will be terminated after their duration period runs out.
The source claims:
After the airline successfully reduced its fleet size, the company employees will be next. Close to 50 percent of the cabin crew and other associated staff members will be laid off. The salaries of the respective employees will be transferred after August.
In response to as to why the airline is taking such drastic measures, the source responded that the airline business is highly regulated but the margins are extremely low. In these cases, when you are already facing financial issues, you cannot keep running such a business. Furthermore, the source also added that the disputes with CAA and FBR have also been a deciding factor in Shaheen’s current troubles.
The Aviation industry is working on only 1% profit and it is very difficult to grow in a challenging environment, especially in a country such as Pakistan. The country has a massive population and there are not more than a total of 100 aircraft combined.
SAI spokesperson, Zohaib Hassan, confirmed the news and said that massive restructuring is underway. However, he denied that the salaries of the employees will be deferred till September.
Zohaib also confirmed that the airline will stop providing its services for a number of destinations. He added that the Dubai route is no longer feasible. Manchester and Kuala Lumpur flights will also be shut down within a year as well.
Currently, SAI operating on Guangzhou, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Abu Dhabi, Al-Ain, Dubai, Sharjah, Muscat, Kuwait, Mashhad and Madina for international routes. And Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Multan, Sialkot, Quetta in domestic routes.