Five years in the making and in the midst of a global pandemic, Pakistan’s newest airline finally launched in December. Headquartered in Sialkot, AirSial offers both daily and weekly domestic flights from its base in Karachi to four destinations on a fleet of three A320s.
The airline’s base of Sialkot is home to a billion-dollar export industry where the city’s chamber of commerce funded an international airport 20 years ago. The chamber is also a backer in the new airline.
The three daily flights to Islamabad and Lahore, and the three weekly flights to Peshawar and Sialkot have been operating with load factors between 92 to 100 percent, said CEO Ameen Ahsan.
AirSial currently operates only domestic routes, but it has plans to add destinations in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America eventually. Besides the chamber of commerce, the company’s ownership structure includes individual investors.
“And now today, we have almost more than 500 shareholders into this company; mostly businessman and small businessmen overseas,” Ahsan said.
The executive management team, led by Chairman Fazal Jilani, doesn’t have any prior experience in airlines, so they’ve put together a team of aviation professionals to handle the operations side of the AirSial, Ahsan said.