Serene Air has been granted a licence by the air travel authority to establish a private airline in Pakistan, said sources in the aviation industry.
The airline would begin operations on domestic routes by November or December 2016, as per its plan submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), stated a source, who remained involved in the developments.
“The authority granted Serene Air a licence in March 2016 to establish the airline with headquarters in Pakistan, however, the company has not yet been granted the Air Operator Certificate that will allow it to fly,” he said.
“The grant of the certificate is linked with the acquisition of aircraft mentioned in the business plan.”
He said airline officials were expected to fly to the United States to acquire five Boeing 737-800s, which would be bought with the approval of CAA officials. “The 737-800 is the latest aircraft of Boeing company.”
As per rules, the company is required to have at least three aircraft to establish an airline.
Serene Air will fly on almost all domestic routes, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta and Multan. CAA rules say the airline can apply for an international licence if it successfully operates on domestic routes for over a year.
At present, there are three airlines that are already flying on domestic routes, of which one is state-owned – Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). The remaining two – Airblue and Shaheen Air – belong to the private sector.
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry Standing Committee on Aviation Chairman Muhammad Yahya Polani said Pakistan’s aviation industry had a huge potential.
“Pakistan should launch more airlines on domestic routes as the availability of more air carriers will spark true competition and benefit passengers with lower fares and improved service quality,” he said.
“All the three airlines operating on the domestic routes have less than 100 aircraft combined, which are below the required number to serve the nation with an estimated population of 220 million,” said Polani.
“The Turkish Airline has more than 300 aircraft for a population of 75 million. It covers over 1,500 destinations every day and what’s more is that its private sector airlines have even greater number of aircraft.”
Similar is the case with the United States’ United Airlines. It has over 1,000 aircraft that fly to 6,700 destinations every day while the United Arab Emirates airline flies to over 1,300 destinations every day and has a very limited population.