Q Airways (Karachi International) plans to commence flights operations in July or August once it has obtained its air operator's certificate (AOC), its chief operating officer Syed Kamran Hasan has told Pakistan’s The News International newspaper.

As previously reported, the Pakistani government authorised in January that a domestic Regular Public Transport (RPT) operating licence could be granted to the start-up. Q Airways will initially operate flights between Karachi International, Lahore International, and Islamabad International.

“We have already received the RPT,” Hasan confirmed. “Now we are working to become eligible for an AOC. We will start domestic operations as soon as we receive it.”

The investor behind Q Airways is Ramada Plaza Group, owned by Mohammad Anwar Qureshi, who is also the owner of Ramada Hotels Group’s operations in Pakistan. No foreign investors are currently involved in the airline, Hasan said but declined to quantify the total investment in the project so far.

“We will initially start with three A320-200s. We want to expand after that and will also try for international flights by increasing the size of our fleet with two to three widebody aircraft,” he elaborated.

Fellow Pakistani start-ups Jet Green Airlines and Air Arabia-backed Fly Jinnah are still in the process of certification for their respective RPTs. According to a recent IATA Consulting report on Pakistan’s aviation industry, international traffic from Pakistan will exceed 2018 levels only in 2025, while domestic traffic will do so in 2023.

“Domestic fares among local airlines are reaching PKR40,000 rupees (USD220) in some instances. So there’s certainly a market for new airlines like us,” Hasan said.