After a months-long delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, AirSial is finally here. The private airline owned by the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry will start its operations from next month, and its first Airbus A320-200 plane has already arrived in Sialkot this Sunday.
AirSial was among six new airlines that had applied to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for regular public transport (RPT) licences in 2018. However, following the issuance of the permit, it had faced an uncertain future after its launch scheduled for May 2020 was indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic among other reasons.
But, the arrival of its fleet from the US means the private airline is all-set to launch its flights operations. Meanwhile,
reports also claim that PM Imran Khan will inaugurate the private airline on Dec 9, but the operations would be started much later. It will operate flights between Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Sialkot and Peshawar before expanding operations to the other cities.
Initially, the airline’s operations will rely on three Airbus A320-200s, which have been leased from AerCap, the world’s largest independent aircraft leasing company, based in Dublin, Ireland.
According to an AirSial official quoted by Dawn, two more aircraft would arrive soon in Sialkot, one of them on Dec 3, to join the new airline’s fleet.
Reacting to the development, cricketer Shoaib Malik, who hails from Sialkot, said it was a “proud moment for everyone in Sialkot, who has been a part of the process”.