Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has announced a 30% reduction in air cargo tariff to aid the country’s exports and foreign exchange earnings. The intention is to ease pressure on mango exporters who fear low international sales owing to compressed demand and lockdowns.
The decision was taken on Thursday after a series of talks between a PIA delegation, led by its CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik, government officials and exporters. Annually, Pakistan exports around 10,000 tons of high-quality mangoes by air, out of which, most of the fruit lands in Europe, the Americas, Gulf and Middle East and fetches hefty foreign exchange.
“Pakistani mango is a highly demanded delicacy throughout the world and it is known for its sweetness and quality but unlike kinnow the shelf life of mango is lesser, hence, export by air cargo is the most viable option,” said PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez Khan.
“PIA is the leader in the air freight segment having more than 50% market share, hence, its contribution in this regard is of paramount importance,” he said.
With the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the growers sought government support and demanded stimulus, he pointed out.
Khan revealed that Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar directed PIA CEO Arshad Malik to analyse and take the initiative. “To kick-start the export process at the earliest and to ensure that the produce remains unaffected by the prevalent crisis, it has been decided that air cargo tariff on mango exports shall be reduced by up to 30% in different weight slots with immediate effect,” he said.
According to the air carrier, this move will facilitate and ease pressure on mango growers, who are already suffering from a potentially devastating locust infestation in addition to the Covid-19 crisis. “This is yet another step taken by the national flag carrier in a series of initiatives aimed at promoting Pakistan and its products to support the government and the country in times of need,” he said.