Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is switching its hub of international flights from Karachi to Islamabad.
This decision has been made in view of the airline’s international traffic schedule. Most of PIA’s international traffic comes from the northern areas, which is why the airline has decided to shift its hub to Islamabad.
“We have to make these changes due to demographic reasons,” says PIA spokesperson Mashhood Tajwar. He said that up to 70 percent of international flights come from northern Pakistan which makes it necessary to make Islamabad the international hub.
PIA’s international flights are mainly bound for Europe, especially London, Canada, and Kuala Lumpur. Apart from London, the airline’s other destinations in Europe include Spain, France, and Italy.
A majority of Pakistanis living in London belongs to Rawalpindi and Mirpur. This is possibly the reason why British Airways opted for Islamabad to resume its flights.
A large number of international flights cater to Pakistanis from Gujrat, Kharian, Jhelum, Lalamusa, Sohawa, and other areas of Punjab. People from these areas usually travel from Lahore or Islamabad, as these airports are closer.
Moreover, traffic going to the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, comes mainly from Dera Ghazi Khan, Rahim Yar Khan, Multan, and Sargodha. Hence, Islamabad and Lahore airports are more convenient for international travelers.
Passengers these days prefer foreign airlines for booking direct flights to their destinations to avoid flights being diverted from Karachi.
“PIA was out of the race in the previous equation,” said the spokesperson. “Many people who hail from Karachi live in London, Canada, and the US,” he said. “However, most expatriates from Karachi visit their country very seldom.” Meanwhile, people from Punjab come to Pakistan a couple of times in a year, the spokesperson said.