PM Imran inaugurates Pakistan’s third private airline in Sialkot

'AirSial will put pressure on other airlines, including PIA, to improve their services'

SIALKOT: Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan on Wednesday launched AirSial, Pakistan’s third private airline, to be run by Sialkot’s business community.

Accompanied by federal ministers Hammad Azahar and Ghulam Sarwar, Adviser to PM on Commerce Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant to PM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and Special Assistant to CM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, the prime minister cut the ribbon to launch the airline, which would initially operate on domestic routes.

With a current fleet of three Airbus A320-200s, the airline would operate flights to and from Sialkot, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

Known for producing sports goods, particularly the world’s finest footballs, Sialkot launched the new airline after establishing the first privately owned airport in 2007, a project funded by the city’s business community.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony of AirSial, the PM expressed hope that the city’s business community would run the airline the same way it managed the Sialkot airport, creating a competitive environment for other airlines, including PIA, to improve their services.

He said that all-out efforts were afoot to encourage the business community to help bring about a revival of industrialisation. “Only through industialisation can we create wealth, fight poverty and uplift underdeveloped areas.”

The PM said that the government’s priority was to reduce the level of poverty and pay special attention to backward areas, including Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan and southern Punjab. He called for “inclusive development” by adopting the Chinese model which pushed millions of its citizens out of poverty.

SUPPORT TO SMES

Later, while addressing a ceremony in connection with cheque distribution among successful applicants of Kamyaab Jawan programme, the PM assured the youth that they would be encouraged and fully supported to start their small & medium enterprises (SMEs).

“More loans will be provided to the youth in the days to come so that they can start their businesses,” he vowed.

The PM said the focus of his government was to bolster exports and for this purpose the industrial sector would be fully backed.

He assured the business community that an industrial zone would be established across 1,000 acres of land in Sialkot to facilitate industrial production.

“This is an era of science & technology and the present government is especially focusing on its promotion to provide a better future to our coming generations,” he added.

Referring to the Sialkot development plan worth Rs17 billion, he said the people of the city would see visible change in their lives through this package. “We are now also bringing master plans for all cities to address the issues of water, sewerage and sanitation.”

The premier hailed the Ehsaas programme as being a significant initiative launched to tackle poverty in Pakistan. He reiterated the country’s need to increase its exports and decrease imports in order to solve the problem of foreign reserves.

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