AirSial, Pakistan’s newest airline, takes off domestically

AirSial, Pakistan’s newest airline, takes off domestically

Come early February, AirSial will have four routes in operation from Karachi with 49 weekly flights each way.

AirSial began commercial operations on 25 December when Karachi – Islamabad took off.

The carrier, Pakistan’s fourth domestic operator, currently plans four routes with three A320s: Karachi to Islamabad; Lahore; Peshawar; and Sialkot.

The first three routes are Pakistan’s top-three based on pre-coronavirus 2019 seat capacity, OAG data shows. 

Sialkot, however, was thin, with fewer than 48,000 two-way seats with one carrier: Pakistan International.  Sialkot is the headquarters for AirSial.

From Karachi, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan, Sukkur, and Rahim Yar Khan all had more seats than Sialkot.  Karachi – Quetta had four times as many and was the country’s fourth-largest domestic market.

AirSial, Pakistan’s newest airline, takes off domestically

This decline was the result of a myriad of things, including the country’s struggling economic performance, PIA’s ongoing major problems, and the end of Shaheen Air in late 2018. Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

AirSial’s flights will be almost the joint-highest in February

Currently, AirSial is operating only two routes: Karachi to Islamabad and Lahore.  Each has a 14-weekly offering.

From the week beginning 1 February, however, these will rise to 21-weekly apiece.  In this period, Peshawar and Sialkot will start with a four- and three-weekly service respectively. 

Although things may change, AirSial is scheduled to have 49 weekly flights each way in February.  It’ll have the second-highest volume of flights – and have just two fewer than market leader, PIA.

Interestingly, all but Peshawar will have higher total weekly flights than in the same week in peak year 2017.  And Lahore and Islamabad are up significantly over 2019; the hole left by Shaheen has been filled.

Based on the week starting 1 February 2021
Karachi to… AirBlue AirSial PIA Serene Air Total weekly flights AirSial’s share
Islamabad 14 21 28 21 84 25%
Lahore 21 21 17 16 75 28%
Peshawar 0 4 4 4 12 33%
Sialkot 0 3 2 0 5 60%
  35 49 51 41 176 28%
Source: airline websites.

AirSial’s third aircraft currently very underutilised

Looking at the carrier’s aircraft schedule, the first two aircraft are fully used each with three rotations daily.  The third, however, is very underutilised. 

It’s likely that Peshawar and Sialkot may both see increased frequencies, although the third aircraft is perhaps acting as a partial spare.  Other lower frequency routes could also be announced soon.

Read more: Pakistan’s domestic market woefully underexploited.

  Aircraft 1 Aircraft 2 Aircraft 3
Monday 0700-1200 (Islamabad); 1300-1800 (Islamabad); 1900-2359 (Islamabad) 0800-1230 (Lahore); 1330-1800 (Lahore); 1900-2330 (Lahore) 0700-1145 (Sialkot); 1245-1730 (Peshawar)
Tuesday 0700-1200 (Islamabad); 1300-1800 (Islamabad); 1900-2359 (Islamabad) 0800-1230 (Lahore); 1330-1800 (Lahore); 1900-2330 (Lahore)  
Wednesday 0700-1200 (Islamabad); 1300-1800 (Islamabad); 1900-2359 (Islamabad) 0800-1230 (Lahore); 1330-1800 (Lahore); 1900-2330 (Lahore) 0700-1145 (Sialkot); 1245-1730 (Peshawar)
Thursday 0700-1200 (Islamabad); 1300-1800 (Islamabad); 1900-2359 (Islamabad) 0800-1230 (Lahore); 1330-1800 (Lahore); 1900-2330 (Lahore) 1245-1730 (Peshawar)
Friday 0700-1200 (Islamabad); 1300-1800 (Islamabad); 1900-2359 (Islamabad) 0800-1230 (Lahore); 1330-1800 (Lahore); 1900-2330 (Lahore) 0730-1145 (Sialkot)
Saturday 0700-1200 (Islamabad); 1300-1800 (Islamabad); 1900-2359 (Islamabad) 0800-1230 (Lahore); 1330-1800 (Lahore); 1900-2330 (Lahore) 1245-1730 (Peshawar)
Sunday 0700-1200 (Islamabad); 1300-1800 (Islamabad); 1900-2359 (Islamabad) 0800-1230 (Lahore); 1330-1800 (Lahore); 1900-2330 (Lahore)  
Source: airline website.

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