PIA - Pakistan International Airlines (PK, Karachi Int'l) has decided to shift its hub for international services from Karachi Int'l to Islamabad Quaid-e-Azam Int'l to improve connections for the bulk of passengers coming from the northern part of the country, The Express Tribune daily has reported.

"We have to make these changes due to demographic reasons," spokesperson Mashhood Tajwar said.

The carrier said that it sees significant demand for its international services among passengers from Mirpur in Azad Kashmir, Rawalpindi, and other areas in northern Pakistan. This is true both for the carrier's services to Europe and the United States, as well as to the Middle East. The spokesperson added that the carrier sees that expats hailing from the country's south tend to visit Pakistan more rarely than those who come from the north.

PIA's hub in Karachi dates back to the period prior to the introduction of open skies policy in Pakistan, which allowed foreign carriers to launch services to Islamabad and other cities in the country.

According to the ch-aviation capacities module, PIA currently offers 25,789 weekly seats from Islamabad and 23,964 from Karachi, which is 19% and 17.6% of the carrier's total capacity. In terms of international flights only, PIA offers 15,934 weekly seats from Islamabad and just 6,200 from Karachi. The carrier also offers 10,896 weekly international seats from Lahore Int'l.