Pakistan International Airlines, the worst airline in the world, stopped flying to the US in October 2017 after 55 years of service.
Their flight used to operate Lahore, Pakistan – Manchester, UK – New York JFK. They weren’t allowed to fly non-stop to the U.S. for security reasons. Everyone would get re-screened in the UK. The US government wasn’t comfortable with a plane load of passengers getting screened in Pakistan and flying to the States.
The carrier also flew to Chicago at various points in time, via Birmingham, Manchester, and even Barcelona, and also to Houston.
Boeing 777 on Approach to New York JFK in 2014, Copyright zhukovsky / 123RF Stock Photo
PIA is a perennial money-loser, and generally offers a poor product. The security stop enroute to the US meant that their flight was no faster than traveling on Emirates or Saudia.
Now the airline has announced its intention to return to the U.S. — fittingly on Twitter — and this time offering a true non-stop.
— PIA (@Official_PIA) March 13, 2019
The US Counsel General in Karachi assures PIA that they’ll receive assistance towards this goal,
The PIA chief said the security situation in Pakistan had improved tremendously and relevant aviation and security agencies of Canada and European countries had shown their confidence over the recent developments. He informed the US envoy of getting certification and approvals from the IATA Operational Safety Audit and other agencies.
Ms Wagner assured the PIA of help by contacting relevant US departments in resolving its issues including having a direct access to US mainland. “We are optimistic that relations between both the countries will grow,” she said, adding: “The USA is very keen to improve and strengthen ties between both countries especially the business and trade relations.”
Here’s a sample of an actual PIA flight.
Pakistan agreed to privatize PIA as a condition of receiving an IMF bailout. However the plan led to employee protests which turned violent in clashes with police involving rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas.
The airline’s privatization plan is off the table, and plans to continue as a state-subsidized entity. I full expect that Delta, United, and American will launch a broad campaign against PIA’s proposed US flying because they believe subsidies do not belong anywhere near the US commercial aviation business.