There is no concept of budget or low-cost airlines in Pakistan. On the contrary, there are ample budget airlines in plenty of countries across the globe for the domestic and international passengers, which eventually bring numerous opportunities to the economy in question in terms of growth in tourism, industrial revival, employment opportunities and beefing up the image of the country in question. The world’s best budget airlines are AirAsia, EasyJet, Norwegian, Southwest Airlines, AirAsia X, Jetstar Airways, WestJet, IndiGo, Ryanair, Eurowings, Scoot, Jetstar Asia, PAL Express, Peach, Vueling Airlines, Air Canada rouge, LEVEL, Jet2.com, Flynas, Citilink etc.
Numerous countries across the globe have their low-cost carriers which rejuvenate the economy. Pakistan does not have any low-cost carrier. However Air Blue is considered budget airline by some quarters which is debatable since there is not much difference in price vis-à-vis its competitors.
Low-cost carriers of Egypt are Air Arabia Egypt, Air Cairo and FlyEgypt. Kenya’s low-cost carriers are Jambojet and Fly540 whereas Morocco has gotten Air Arabia Maroc. South Africa has FlySafair, kulula.com, Mango as well as Comair. Zimbabwe’s Fastjet Zimbabwe is popular.
Colombia’s Viva Air Colombia and Wingo whereas Costa Rica’s Volaris Costa Rica are benefitting the respective economies. Dominican Republic has gotten Flycana, Honduras has EasySky and Mexico’s Interjet, VivaAerobús and Volaris beautify the skies. Peru’s Viva Air Perú and the United States of America’s Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Sun Country Airlines serve the customers with their best possible service.
Low-cost carriers are rather popular in numerous countries globally for low price of the ticket and easy as well as comfortable time-saving journey vis-à-vis road and train service. Millions of citizens across the world travel by low-cost carriers whereas it is few and far between in Pakistan. Travel by air even today is considered a status symbol in Pakistan while it is no more a luxury in ample developing countries let alone developed countries. There are massive opportunities for the local and international investors in this sector of the economy of Pakistan which hitherto has been either neglected or the relevant authorities have turned a blind eye.
Would it be wrong to say that aviation in Pakistan is constrained by artificial barriers imposed by the government? If it is so and the concept of open sky prevalent globally is not the preference of the government, the economy would never achieve what it is destined to attain. Pakistan must do something to catch up with the rest of the world and must keep pace with at least with the emerging economies of the world.
Besides the national flag carrier, Pakistanis have either traveled or heard the names such as the Air Blue, the Pearl Air, the Royal Air, the Safe Air, the Shaheen Air, the Aero Asia, the SereneAir etc. Some of them have worked and vanished and some are still serving the nation however plenty more is to be done in the sector. There is no denying that besides low-cost airlines, Pakistan’s aviation market also has tremendous potential for cargo business.
The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the survival of the global air transport industry and there is no denying that the year 2020 would be remembered as the worst year ever for the airlines in particular. Airline industry has incurred unprecedented losses however there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Pakistan’s economy after the negative growth during the preceding fiscal year seems to rebound and there is a likelihood that the economy would grow better than the anticipated figures in the wake of the prevalent outbreak of the virus. With the revival of the economy, there would be plenty of opportunities particularly in the transportation sector. Air transportation, particularly the low cost air transportation could beef up the economic growth and bring prosperity to millions of youth who have borne the brunt of unemployment so far.