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Basic idea of launching AirSial is to do public service - Fazal Jilani: Exclusive interview of Chairman, AirSial.

Byline: M. Naeem Qureshi

Prime Minister had the realization that the business community of Sialkot is capable enough to run an airline on its own," this was stated by the Chairman of newly launched Airline AirSial, Fazal Jilani, during an exclusive interview with the Energy Update on this new aviation venture of the business community of Sialkot that is well-known in the country. Following are the important excerpts of his interview:

Energy Update: What was the basic philosophy behind establishing the Airsial?

Fazal Jilani: The basic aim of the business community of Sialkot is to do the public service. We have been serving our country. We used to go abroad and go door-to-door to fetch business for the country. We do earn foreign exchange for the country. Earning this foreign exchange is such a difficult task for us but the same is cold-heartedly handed back to the foreign airlines in the form of the travelling and imports. This was the main motive behind the move to establish our own airline. There is a massive gap in this sector of Pakistan. We are a country of 220 million people and only three air carriers are serving here. There exists a big potential both in the domestic and international travelling. So after consulting our friends, we decided to establish our own airline.

EU: What difficulties you encountered while doing the airline project?

Fazal Jilani: Yes we have faced many difficulties in this regard as mostly they were related to the government but the relevant authorities also helped us a lot in resolving them. Usman Dar, Aviation minister and secretary helped us a lot. Director General of Civil Aviation Authority, and all other relevant departments also helped us. Prime Minister Imran extended special assistance in this regard. PM realized the fact that this upcoming airline is not owned by any single person as this venture belongs to the business community of Sialkot who possessed the ability to run an air carrier on their own as earlier they successfully did the projects of dry port, airport, and road network in Sialkot. In his speech, the PM has exclusively mentioned the realization of this mega project that this community is capable of delivering.

EU: So how's the experience since launch of the AirSial?

Fazal Jilani: We have been operating the flights of our airline since December 25, 2020 as we have been getting good feedback about its service. I have just arrived here in the city on a flight of our airline. There were 168 passengers onboard the flight as I went to every passenger and came to know that everybody was happy. Passengers on the flight were happy with the hospitality of the airline. But again it is a fact that you can't satisfy anyone 100 per cent. We too have to face the difficulties, one has to face at the launching of an airline.

EU: What is the detail of the business plan of AirSial?

Fazal Jilani: It is worth mentioning that we have launched our airline in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis when the aviation industry in the entire world has been experiencing a downfall. We have the plan to continue with our domestic service for one year. After one year, we will induct two more airplanes into our fleet for international service. In this first phase of our international service, we will go to Saudi Arabia and rest of Middle East, in the second phase we will start service for the Far East, in the third phase, we will go to Europe, as in the final phase we will go to the North America. As far as our business plan is concerned, we will do our best to secure the stage of break-even in our first year. But our foremost priority is to achieve customer satisfaction on the basis of our service.

EU: What are the salient features of your airline?

Fazal Jilani: We have the distinction of being the first airline in Pakistan to use engineering software from the first day of our operation. We also possess the distinction of being the first airline in Pakistan to bring here the flight operations software as this fact has also been verified by the CAA about our pioneering status in the country. Moreover, we have been providing free of charge travelling to a passenger accompanying a coffin on our flight. The same facility will remain valid after the launch of our international flights.

EU: What is mode of investment involved in the AirSial project?

Fazal Jilani: Airplanes of our airline are on a dry lease. The paid-up capital of our airline is Rs four billion as our authorized capital is Rs five billion.

EU: What is the detail of Sialkot airport project?

Fazal Jilani: The Sialkot airport project was also launched in the year 2007-08. It is also a community-based project. This project was not conceived to earn money as it was launched to earn a good reputation for our city.
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Author:M. Naeem Qureshi
Publication:Energy Update
Date:Jan 31, 2021
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