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January 16, 2020

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia revise air service agreement

National

January 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government has approved a revised air service agreement (ASA) with Saudi Arabia to enhance bilateral cooperation in air transportation and safeguard the local aviation industry, foreign media reported on Wednesday.

Under the new ASA, the national flag carriers of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will operate an equal number of flights to each country. “Under the revised agreement, PIA and Saudi Arabia Airlines will entertain equal numbers of flights. This will end the disparity in the numbers of flights of the air carriers in each country,” Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, told reporters.

Pakistan has air service agreements with 98 countries, covering the numbers of flights, their frequency, seats, landing points, and code-sharing. Bilateral rights differ from country to country and are subject to periodic renegotiation, according to Pakistan’s National Aviation Policy of 2019.

Under the policy, the country wants to review open skies clauses and associated ASAs by renegotiating routes, slots and capacity accorded to foreign airlines that might be discriminatory and disadvantageous to PIA, the national flag carrier. Pakistan liberalised its aviation sector in 2015 by opening its skies to foreign airlines and increasing the number of international flights.

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