Pakistan may soon have three more domestic airlines with start-ups Q Airways (Karachi International), Fly Jinnah (9P, Karachi International), and Jet Green Airlines having applied for regulatory approval from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA).

A PCAA statement to local media said Q-Airlines and Fly Jinnah had completed the licensing process on February 26, 2021, while Jet Green Airlines’ application was still being processed. So far, the PCAA has forwarded its recommendations for two of the airlines to the government's Aviation Division for final scrutinisation. Federal Government approval is required before the PCAA can issue a Regular Public Transport (RPT) license. The carriers will still have to obtain an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the PCAA before they can start operating.

ch-aviation approached the PCAA and Jet Green Airlines Deputy Managing Director Khalid Manzoor, but they were not immediately available to comment.

According to Pakistan aviation regulations, start-ups have to operate domestically for at least one year with at least three aircraft for passenger services, or at least one cargo aircraft, all registered in Pakistan. After that, they are allowed to operate international flights, but only to destinations where state carrier PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Islamabad International) does not operate to its full entitlement.

New airlines have to start with at least two domestic trunk routes, one of which must include Peshawar, Quetta, Multan, or Faisalabad. They must serve at least two weekly frequencies on one socio-economic or one tertiary route.

Entrants also have to present proof of start-up capital of PKR100 million rupees (USD635,000). Foreign investment is allowed but may not be more than 49% of the paid-up capital, with Pakistani citizens/entities holding the controlling interest. They also must lodge a security deposit of PKR10 million (USD64,000) or an equivalent bank guarantee with the PCAA.

The new applicants will take the number of scheduled private airlines in Pakistan to six, joining AirBlue (PA, Karachi International), Serene Air (ER, Islamabad International), and AirSial (PF, Karachi International).