* Airlines generated Rs 3 billion from mango export last year
By Tanveer Sher
KARACHI: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which has been under criticism for not providing enough space and facilities to mango exporters, has finally formed a new ‘Business Strategy’ to lift the fruit with maximum quantity thus enhancing its revenue to a substantial level during the current calendar year.
Providing new equipments and space to its cargo facility, the national flag carrier will be grabbing 25 percent share in the country’s cargo revenue this calendar year.
Some 85 percent cargo is being lifted by private airlines while the national carrier is confined to a cargo service worth Rs 750 million out of the total export of Rs 3 billion as recorded last year.
This was informed during a meeting between office bearers of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) and a seven-member delegation of PIA led by its General Manager Cargo Shahid Khoso here at PFVA head office on Saturday.
The PIA delegation included Cargo Operation DGM Parvez Rafi, Cargo Sales Manager Mushtaq Shah, Cargo Complex DGM Kurtar, Space Control Manager Baqar Nagi, Cargo Sales Manager Karachi Abbas Zaidi, and Air Cargo Centre Manager P M Talpoor Ahmed while PFVA was represented by its chairman Waheed Ahmed, Senior Vice Chairman Aslam Pkhali, and other members and leading exporters.
Talking to the scribe, the PFVA chairman briefing about the core issue discussed during the meeting said vital issues like lack of required equipments and space in the national airline for cargo services of perishable items, high cargo tariff and others were mainly discussed in the hours long meeting. It was informed that, PIA was unfortunately generating hardly 15 percent revenue through the export of mango out of the collective income of Rs 3 billion. However, through the new initiatives taken by the cargo section of PIA, the airline would be easily getting over 25 percent of the revenue from mango exports in 2013. This way not only the losses to the airline would be reduced but also the export of mango would see a reasonable jump in next couple of years.
He said PIA’s Shahid Khoso informed the exporters that PIA, through forming new Business Strategy, has obtained new equipments to lift exportable fruits and vegetables specially the mango in the forthcoming season. Besides to ensure the maximum and timely export of mango and fruits this year special mangers have been appointed with specific responsibilities. A help desk has also been made to facilitate the exporters in cargo-related matters. He further ensured the exporters to consider their demands of reducing freight charges.
According to him during the meeting he requested the airline to arrange charter cargo flights to lift mango to European countries where the fruit has huge demand in the season. The lack of direct flight services and shortage of air cargo facility limit the export of highly valued fruit despite the high demand.
Exporters have always preferred the national airline however its limited facilities and issues hindering the freight service force them to move towards other airlines. He ensured PIA officials that the private airlines would only be approached when the national airline is short of space and facility.
Replying to a query, he said PIA delegation was also informed about losses faced by the exporters for negligence on the part of PIA, which offloaded consignments in Lahore against the scheduled routes various times. He further informed the officials that the airline should also keep an eye on the exporters and traders as the Ministry of Commerce through the three-year trade policy has made the membership of PFVA mandatory for exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables. He also suggested the airline to frame long-term strategies to improve its cargo services.
PIA’s contribution at a glance
Total mango export Previous Exepcted
Rs 3bn 3% or Rs 90m 25% or Rs 750m