The federal government is considering to change its aviation policy from ‘open sky’ to a ‘fair sky policy’.
The government is reviewing the policy as an attempt to help the domestic airlines avoid losing market share to foreign competitors.
A formal announcement in this regard is expected before March 23rd. Notably, the open sky policy was introduced in 2012. This policy allowed several foreign airlines to incorporate Pakistani routes in their operations.
With the advent of this policy, the foreign airlines got an edge over Pakistani air carriers. This caused huge losses to the domestic airlines and ultimately to the country’s finances.
The open sky policy provides for some base requirements. Airlines that fulfill these requirements are allowed to operate in Pakistan. The policy made it easier for Etihad, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Thai Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, and several other airlines to commence or expand their operations in the country.
Given that the domestic airlines were less competitive, the entry of so many competitors in the market did not bode well for them.
Therefore, in a bid to uplift the domestic airlines, the government has prepared a new fair sky policy draft that will be presented in the next federal meeting for approval.
The proposed policy has also discouraged the remittance of country’s foreign exchange abroad. The Aviation Division has briefed the Prime Minister about the new policy.
Moreover, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and private Pakistani carriers have also been lobbying to spread awareness as to how much they were affected by the ‘open sky policy.’