KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has diversified its operations from air transport to rail service for passengers traveling to certain western countries – the United Kingdom, Spain, Norway and Canada.
“PIA has announced a new partnership with AccesRail, the world’s leading provider of air-rail intermodal solutions,” said PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez Khan.
The partnership will allow PIA to use the expertise of AccesRail to allow its customers to book train tickets in the UK, Spain, Norway and Canada using the PIA booking platform or via the Global Distribution System travel agency.
The airline has organized a code share with the airline, which will take PIA passengers to their next destinations after their departure from the airport.
“We are increasing the connectivity of the national airline,” the spokesperson told The Express Tribune.
For example, PIA only flies to Barcelona in Spain and after that, if travelers want to travel to other cities in the country, they can travel by train to these destinations with the same ticket.
The new arrangement, the spokesman said, provides convenient and easy rail / bus connections to PIA’s main gateways to the UK, Europe and Canada, allowing passengers to reach cities and other destinations. than those served by PIA and reach final destinations transparently with the best available rates according to the desired route and the same ticket.
Although travelers can purchase train tickets separately, it will cost them more than the PIA code-sharing agreement with AccesRail.
Trains are common in Western countries where the ticket must be booked in advance, otherwise it will not be available or will be very expensive.
PIA passengers will be able to connect to and return from their international flights on a number of rail / bus routes operated by major rail / bus companies in combination with PIA operational flights.
Transportation providers include Renfe in Spain, Via Rail Canada, VI in Norway and Great Western Railways and Avanti West Coast in the United Kingdom.
The partnership also includes luxury bus routes in the UK operated by National Express to major UK cities from London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport.
Passengers will be able to touch four points via PIA.
“This step is part of PIA’s policy to increase connectivity,” said the spokesperson.
The arrangement is similar to that of Turkish Airlines, which serves 200 destinations, although it directly concerns only 80 to 90 destinations and the rest are only code-share destinations and this is how it became one of the biggest airlines.
“According to the new PIA policy, it will increase the number of destinations without opening new routes by itself. It already has a code-sharing agreement with Etihad Airways and Turkish Airlines, “he said.
“PIA has targeted 10% of total sales through code sharing over the next three to four years,” he said. So far, it has made 3% of sales with Etihad Airways.
“It is not a very ambitious goal and we will achieve it soon,” he added.
PIA recently signed the same agreement with Cham Wings, which is based in Syria and a new entrant in the aeronautical industry of Pakistan. PIA does not fly to Damascus, the capital of Syria, so the two companies will share their codes.
“This is possible thanks to 2019 aviation policy, because the policy facilitates this type of arrangement,” said Khan.
“With Cham Wings, our network will grow without investing in new destinations, which is a win-win situation for both parties.”