Afeef Zara Airways (Karachi Int'l) has secured its Regular Public Transport (RPT) licence from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) and plans to launch domestic services within the next six months, Afeef Group Chairman Rashid Ahmed Siddiqui has told Profit Pakistan Today.

The carrier will launch services with a fleet of three unspecified aircraft, the minimum fleet size required by the PCAA. It will initially operate domestic routes between Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam Int'l, Karachi Int'l, and Lahore Int'l.

The carrier is backed and financed by Afeef Group, a packaging manufacturer and one of Pakistan's leading industrial conglomerates, which has to date not been active in the aviation sector.

Afeef Zara Airways is one of a number of start-ups eyeing to shake up the ossified airline industry in Pakistan, with other market entrants including Liberty Air (Pakistan), GoGreen Airways, Askari Aviation, United Airways Pakistan, and Air Sial. Out of these, Air Sial has reportedly also already secured its RPT and is preparing two A321s for launch.

Besides the dominant flag carrier PIA - Pakistan International Airlines, private carriers operating domestic flights in Pakistan include Serene Air, AirBlue, and Shaheen Air International. Given the population number of some 200 million, Pakistan has an undeveloped domestic air traffic market, largely due to a complicated regulatory environment.