New Delhi: With passenger load factors on the decline, Air India has no immediate plans to revive flights to Pakistan after having closed down its services to Lahore almost eight months ago.
“This is not the right time to launch any new flights,” a senior Air India official said when asked if there were any plans to relaunch its operations to Pakistani cities.
Air links between India and Pakistan were restored in January 2004, two years after tension grew between the two neighbours. The flights were withdrawn by both countries in the first week of December 2002 after the terror attack on Parliament House.
Both the countries had then decided not to allow the use of their airspace for civil aviation, leading to Indian and Pakistani flights taking long detours for their flights to the West and the East respectively.
Days ahead of Islamabad Saarc Summit, the erstwhile Indian Airlines started its New Delhi-Lahore service on 4 January, 2004.
Under the existing bilateral agreement, 12 flights can be operated by designated carriers of both countries every week.
The Air India flights to Lahore were stopped in March due to commercial reasons, primarily on account of very low load factors. Pakistan International Airlines is still operating flights from Karachi.