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April 15, 2024
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Pakistan’s newest airline, low-cost carrier Fly Jinnah, has been granted its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and Air Operating License (AOL) by the Pakistani authorities. The airline, which is a joint venture between Air Arabia Group and business conglomerate firm Lakson Group, can now prepare for the launch of its first services out of Karachi. Fly Jinnah closer to launch after receiving its AOC.

Air Arabia and Lakson announced their plans for a joint airline a year ago. The intention is to introduce the Air Arabia low-cost model with high-quality standards to Pakistan, where air travel is dominated by airlines with poor track records and often poor safety standards too. Air Arabia CEO Adel Al Ali told AirInsight at last year’s Dubai Airshow that his group will not contribute financially to Fly Jinnah, that’s up to Lakson: “It’s not Air Arabia investing, we offer technical management facilities and services. The airline is a Pakistani airline run by the Pakistani people.”

Al Ali also said that the new airline will also have to source aircraft on its own, but that’s not true. Fly Jinnah will operate will three Airbus A320ceo’s that were delivered to the airline from Air Arabia in the last week of September and the first of October. All three are leased from SMBC Aviation Capital.

Operating under the 9P callsign, Fly Jinnah plans to start domestic services out of Karachi before gradually growing its network to include international destinations after the first year. That will definitely include flights to the United Arab Emirates, which has strong links with Pakistan. As Adel Al Ali said last year: “With a 200+ million population, Pakistan is a huge market. “But it also has many citizens outside Pakistan, especially in the Gulf area, GCC and the UAE. We see that as an opportunity.”

Getting the paperwork done and having them rubberstamped by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority is a major step, says Fly Jinnah Chairman Iqbal Ali Lakhani: A lot of hard work has been put into achieving this outcome, thanks to our partners at Arabia Group, all the airline staff, and the various divisions for ensuring all PCAA regulatory safety standards and requirements are met. We look forward to launching Fly Jinnah’s operations, serving the strategic vision of Pakistan’s travel and tourism sector, and contributing to the country’s economic growth and job creation, while also providing Pakistanis with reliable and value-for-money air travel”.

Al Ali was also thankful for achieving this milestone, he said in the media release: “We thank the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority for their support throughout the entire process of obtaining the AOC and we are confident that “Fly Jinnah” will add significant value to the air transport sector of Pakistan. We look forward to welcoming our first customer on board fly Jinnah soon”.

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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