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Turkish Airways Airbus A321. Copyright Vedant Agarwal. Photo used with permission.

Pakistan routes news and analysis: Gulf Air, Pakistan International Airlines, and Turkish Airlines

Several pieces of routes news from Pakistan emerged over the past week, and Bangalore Aviation has prepared a summary of these changesGulf Air increases frequency to Pakistan

  • Bahrain based  Gulf Air has added 7 new weekly frequencies on its offering to Pakistan, from mid-December 2013, bringing its total Pakistani operation to 21 flights per week to four destinations. A summary of the changes is shown below
    • Bahrain – Islamabad increases from 2x weekly to 3x weekly Airbus A330-200
    • Bahrain – Karachi increases from daily to 10x weekly Airbus A320
    • Bahrain – Lahore increases from 3x weekly to 4x weekly A330-200
    • Bahrain – Peshawar increases from 2x weekly to 4x weekly, split as 2x weekly Airbus A321, 1x weekly A330-200, and 1x weekly A320
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) increases service to Manchester/Toronto from November 2013
  • Total frequency to Toronto increases to 4x weekly with addition of second weekly Karachi – Lahore – Toronto flights using Boeing 777-200LR equipment
  • Total frequency to Manchester increases to 6x weekly with addition of third weekly Islamabad – Manchester on Boeing 777-200ER equipment
  • Pakistan International Airlines continues to persist in operating a potpourri of routings for its intercontinental flights, by having low frequencies from each of Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, and even Peshawar. This is certainly not unprecedented; Saudia has a similar setup out of Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. But it would likely be more efficient for PIA to choose just one airport to serve as its gateway for long haul flights; either Karachi, which has the highest yielding traffic, or Islamabad, which has the highest volume of passengers.
Turkish Airlines switches to 737-900ER
  • Istanbul based Turkish Airlines is planning on switching aircraft for some of its flights to Pakistan, replacing the Boeing 737-800 with the Boeing 737-900ER
  • Interestingly, the decision to replace the 737-800 with the 737-900ER actually represents a downgrade in capacity, as the 737-800s are configured with 165 seats (12Y+ / 153Y), while the 737-900ERs are configured for 151 seats (16C / 135Y) including a true regional business class product. This is an indication that Turkish Airlines is seeing strong premium demand on its Pakistani routes, but volumes are a bit soft (understandable given the residual weakness in the Pakistani economy)
  • The routes affected are:
    • All 4x weekly flights to Karachi, Pakistan’s business capital
    • One of 3x weekly flights to Islamabad, Pakistan’s political capital

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