Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has slashed fares on its Beijing flights to encourage more travelers from both countries. The airline has seen particular demand among students and business travelers.
PIA offers Beijing discount
As reported by The Financial Express, PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez Khan revealed on Saturday that the Pakistani carrier has cut fares by a sizable 30%, effective immediately. The airline currently operates a weekly flight between Islamabad International Airport (ISB) and Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) each Sunday using its Boeing 777 fleet.
China reopened its international borders at the beginning of the year, leading to an influx of travelers and a rapid return by many foreign airlines. The country is a popular place of education for Pakistani students, with an estimated 28,000 currently studying in China. At the same time, Pakistan and China have partnered up for a "Year of Tourism" initiative over 2023 to facilitate greater travel between the two countries.
The latest fare reduction
PIA has been generous to student travelers within the last six months after making two earlier fare discounts. The airline slashed prices to Beijing by 23% in December, followed by another 27% reduction in February - its latest discount will be available to all passengers, regardless of travel class.
As quoted by state news agency Xinhua, Khan commented,
"After the resumption of flights to Beijing, a large number of students and businessmen are thronging to China. They repeatedly requested PIA to adjust the fares to the pre-COVID-19 ticket prices, so we did it to facilitate bilateral travel."
Pilot dispute and debts remain
The Pakistani airline will continue to face headwinds this year as its ongoing pilot dispute and financial woes show no sign of letting up. As Simple Flying reported last month, PIA pilots are threatening to boycott flights due to ongoing pay issues, while dozens resigned after the carrier enforced pay cuts of up to 35% in March.
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The Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (PALPA) claims that pilots have not received a salary rise in seven years, while stating many of its pilots have found better opportunities with foreign airlines.
The airline could be in more hot water after one of its planes strayed into Indian airspace on Sunday. As reported by The Times of India, a PIA flight failed to land at Allama Iqbal International Airport (LHE) in Lahore due to adverse weather before losing its way and straying into India for approximately 10 minutes.
One bit of good news for PIA is that its return to European airspace is getting closer. After undergoing the first stage of a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) audit in March, a UK-led team will arrive in Pakistan on July 10th to conduct its own audit.
Have you ever flown with Pakistan International Airport between Beijing and Islamabad? What is the biggest discounted fare you have ever purchased? Let us know your stories in the comment section.