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Turkish Airlines expands codeshare agreement with PIA for EU/UK flights

written by Hannah Dowling | July 28, 2020

A Turkish Airlines A330-300 departs Istanbul Ataturk (Source: Australian Aviation archives)

Turkish Airlines has reportedly now approved a codeshare agreement with Pakistan International Airlines, following the banning of PIA operations in the UK and the European Union.

Under the new agreement, Pakistani passengers will be able to travel onboard Turkish Airlines operated aircraft from Istanbul to London and Birmingham in the UK, as well as Milan, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Oslo in the EU.

The agreement serves as an extension of an existing codeshare agreement between the two carriers, and was agreed upon after PIA chief executive Air Marshal Arshad Malik pleaded with Turkish Authorities for the arrangement.

Turkish Airlines approved a codeshare agreement with Pakistan International Airlines on Sunday. Pakistan’s national airline has selected Istanbul as the most urgent destination for the resumption of its flight operations, as the city will be the gateway for Pakistan International, which has been banned by the UK and Europe due to its recent fraudulent pilot licence scandal.

In response, Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Ekşi said, “Considering the networks of both airlines, we see that the volume and utilisation of our agreements have been lower than our expectations.”

He added that co-operation among the proposed routes to the UK and EU “could be developed to reach a more satisfying level”.

Ekşi also suggested that the codeshare could be upgraded from a unilateral to a bilateral arrangement in the future, as demand for air travel begins to increase.

PIA banned from UK and EU

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The new agreement comes following the news that PIA has been banned from operations in the UK and EU, as well as the US, due to its ongoing “dubious” pilot licence scandal.

Reports were made in front of the Pakastani Parliament that some Pakistani pilots had achieved their pilot qualifications by paying others to sit their exams in their place. A third of Pakistani pilots were involved in the scandal, and immediately grounded.

In response, both the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) have suspended Pakistan International Airlines’  authorization to operate in the EU and the US. 

According to Pakistan’s aviation minister, the EASA flight ban is supposed to remain in force until late August, however the government is intending to appeal the ban by the end of July.

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